May 11, 2012

But reading Shakespeare for pleasure was a practice not confined to lovers of Johnson’s Dictionary–or, for that matter, lovers of Shakespeare’s plays.   Editorial critics as well took to the pages (and margins) in the eighteenth century, in delighted or malevolent critique of new editions of the plays.   Here, Styan Thirlby can be seen, pen in hand, reading Pope’s edition of the Works.   Thirlby’s extensive marginal commentary was a resource for other editors, including Lewis Theobald and Samuel Johnson.

The works of Shakespear : in six volumes / collated and corrected by the former editions by Mr. Pope (London, 1723), with annotations by Styan Thirlby.  Item Osborn fpc13 from the James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection, Beinecke Library, Yale University

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