A COMMERCIAL DISASTER, WITH AN EPILOGUE BY FIELDING

Caelia: or, the perjur’d Lover. A Play. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, by His Majesty’s Servants …

London: Printed for J. Watts … 1733.

8vo., pp. [12], 60, with half-title but wanting the two leaves of advertisements at the end; a2 dampstained, top corner of C5 torn, affecting pagination and headline, rust-hole touching several letters in E4 (easily supplied), disbound.

£200

Approximately:
US $261€224

Make an enquiry

First edition. Caelia, Johnson’s last theatrical production, is an attack on the fashionable libertinism of the day. As the Preface explains, however, he refused to take Barton Booth’s advice and expunge the vivid brothel scenes, and a fastidious audience answered with their pockets. The play, performed on 11 December 1732, was a commercial disaster, and Booth quickly sold off the rights to John Watts who published it with an epilogue by Henry Fielding. After Caelia had lost him his benefit at Drury Lane, Johnson abandoned his career as a playwright and seems to have run a tavern round the corner in Bow Street, Covent Garden (Oxford DNB). Cross III, 296.

You may also be interested in...

PRIVATE EDITION :: PRESENTATION COPY [TALFOURD, Thomas Noon].

Ion; a Tragedy, in five Acts. To which are added a few Sonnets. Second Edition.

Second private edition of Talfourd’s blank verse tragedy, adding a small group of eight sonnets not in the first edition (also privately printed, 1835), and with a new preface: ‘Having exhausted the small impression which was originally printed of Ion, and finding that there are yet friends in whose hands I wish to place it ... I send it again to the press. I have availed myself of this opportunity ... to introduce considerable alterations.’ Among the friends to whom he presented a copy was William Wordsworth, who was to attend the first performance in 1836, having dined beforehand with Talfourd and Landor. Afterwards they had a celebratory supper with Macready, who had taken the leading role, and Browning.

Read more

‘AS HEADSTRONG AS AN ALLEGORY’ SHERIDAN, Richard Brinsley.

The Rivals, a Comedy. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Covent-Garden.

First edition of the play that introduced Mrs. Malaprop to the English stage.

Read more