London: Thomas Hodgkins, 1807.
First edition, first issue, with the T. Davison imprint on the verso of p. 235 of Volume 1, and the earlier address of Hanway Street on the ads in Volume 2. 20 engraved plates by Blake after drawings by Mulready, including frontispieces; 3 pp. of ads at rear of second volume. 2 vols. 12mo. " ... made Shakespeare a familiar and popular author ... " Full crushed blue by Rivière, gilt fillet borders, spines in 6 compartments, richly gilt and lettered, gilt dentelles, blue marbled endpapers, a.e.g. Fine set. Roff/Livingston, pp. 61ff. Item #40066
Beautiful set of the classic which the Lambs set about writing at the suggestion and encouragement of of William Godwin, who hired Thomas Hodgkins to run The Juvenile Library on his behalf. The Lambs' prose adaptations (Charles did the tragedies, Mary the comedies) were written primarily for the benefit of girls, for, as they state in the Preface, "boys are generally permitted the use of their fathers' libraries at a much earlier age than girls are, they frequently have the best of Shakespear by heart, before their sisters are permitted to look into this manly book..'
The result was, according to the Cambridge History of English Literature, "the first book which, appealing to a general audience and to a rising generation, made Shakespeare a familiar and popular author ... "
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