The School for Scandal. A Comedy …

‘Dublin: Printed for J. Ewling.’ [1790s?]

8vo. in fours, pp. vi, 93, [3, epilogue and errata]; title-page and last leaf toned, else a good copy in modern boards.


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The undated Ewling edition of The School for Scandal, for a long time believed to be the first edition, but now thought later. With the London cast-list.

No authorised edition of the play was published in Sheridan’s lifetime. Early bibliographers, keen to establish the editio princeps of what must be considered the greatest English stage comedy of the eighteenth century, alighted on the present edition, presuming that it was printed shortly after the first performance in 1777. The presence of an errata list here was thought particularly pertinent. Iolo Williams and Thomas Wise both sided with the present edition, but notes of caution were sounded as early as 1917, and a decade later R. Crompton Rhodes was ‘prepared to demonstrate that the Ewling edition was at least later than any of the three editions of 1781 … [and] there was no printer named Ewling in Dublin at this period’.

The Dublin edition dated 1780 is now widely accepted as the first. The present edition remains something of a mystery; elegantly printed (though probably not in Dublin), it does not employ a long ‘s’, though it must pre-date 1796 (ownership inscription in a copy sold by Maggs in 1981). As Rhodes suggests, there was no publisher in Dublin (or indeed elsewhere) named Ewling, though the Ewings were well-known earlier in the century.

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