London: Thomas Hodgkins At The Juvenile Press, 1807. Item #55702
Two Volumes. 12mos, beautiful gilt-worked, red full-morocco leather bindings by Riviere & Sons. First edition, earliest printing. These 20 tales are illustrated with 20 engraved illustrations by William Mulready. First edition, first impression, with the imprint of the printer T. Davison on the verso of p. 235, vol. I, and with the Hanway Street address in the final advertisements. The “Tales” are the work of Lamb and his sister Mary, who had severe bouts of mental illness. Charles wrote the tragedies and Mary wrote the comedies. The book is designed to make the stories of Shakespeare’s plays familiar to the young. According to the Cambridge History of English Literature, "the first book which, appealing to a general audience and to a rising generation, made Shakespeare a familiar and popular author." Originally the “Tales” were to be anonymous but Godwin (the publisher) persuaded an unreluctant Charles to have his name on the title page. Mary did not get her name on the title page until the seventh edition in 1838. “Tales from Shakespeare” has been republished many times, in various editions and using various illustrators, including Arthur Rackham. Very Good (covers nice, some scattered foxing; rubbing & abrasions to front pastedowns from bookplates formerly removed).