London: Printed for the Author, and sold by William Cadman, et al, 1684.
First English edition. [viii], 135, , 176 pp. 4to. The Classical Treatise of the 17th-Century French Drama. Contemporary mottled calf, rebacked, spine in 6 compartments with raised bands, preserving original black morocco spine panels richly gilt in 4 compartments, with red morocco spine labels to style in the other 2. Small triangular tear to title-page, a few ink stains and a few marginal notes from an early reader. ESTC R16044; Wing A4185. Provenance: Spencer Compton, 8th Duke of Devonshire (1833-1908, bookplate, shelfmark). Item #309355
First English translation of this key treatise which codified the rules of 17th-century French dramatic classicism. It was first published in French as La pratique du théatre in 1657. Congreve owned copies of both the first French and first English editions.
Hédelin (1604-1676) was a cleric and author; he enjoyed the patronage of Cardinal Richelieu and began writing his treatise in 1640 under the Cardinal's urging. In his own plays, Hédelin attempted to demonstrate his conservative theories of drama. His friendship with Corneille was broken off in part because of the latter's inconsistent methods and adherence to the classical dramatic models that Hédelin espoused.
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