London; 1797 and 1799: Printed for Thomas Egerton. Octavo. Item #029007
In two volumes, 628pp. and 654pp. errata. These two volumes are among the several dozen major contributions to the issues of Shakespeare forgeries. George Chalmers speculated that the sonnets were addressed to Queen Elizabeth in an emulation of Spenser. He rejects the conclusions of Malone and Steevens that they could be addressed to a man.The latter volume contains an errata leaf of five lines plus errata for pp. 389, 395, 402, 413, 419, 430, 434, 438 and 446. A major contribution on the Shakepearean documents forged by W.H. Ireland. The Monthly Review NS 31 (February 1800), p. 187 disagreed. George Steevens in writing to Thomas Percy strongly disagreed. These two volumes are fundamental to the study of Ireland and his influence continued well into the early 19th century. Chalmers defends Elizabeth I as the beloved and able to show the "certainties" of Malone's gendering are unfounded. Randal McLeod in his Formation, the Sexing of Shakespeare's Sonnets (MLQ, 54, 1993) shows how an understanding of contemporary printing accounts for the typeface of the compositor played a role in the misinterpretation. Although issued two years apart, the owner had them uniformly bound in three-quarters green pebbled grained morocco over marbled paper covered boards, raised bands and lettering gilt, wear through the marbled paper on one volume, light damp stain to front blanks and just a hint to title page of first volume. A very nice set.1797 (ESTC T138271); 1799 (ESTC T61515).