London: Jacob Tonson, 1709. Octavo, period-style marbled wrappers, paper label, light scattered foxing to text block. Item #10056
A beautiful copy of Twelfth-Night, excerpted from the first octavo edition of Shakespeare's works, edited by Nicholas Rowe and printed by Jacob Tonson in 1709. Although Twelfth-Night was performed as early as 1602, the play was not published until the First Folio of 1623: this is the first octavo appearance of the play, and the first to be illustrated, with a full-page frontispiece engraving of Malvolio in prison. Shakespeare's comedy of mistaken identity follows the shipwrecked heroine Viola through a series of romantic cross-dressing misadventures: "O Time, thou must untangle this, not I, / It is too hard a Knot for me t' unty." A near-fine copy.