SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). The Late, and much admired play, called Pericles, Prince of Tyre. [London: William Jaggard] for T[homas] P[avier], 1619.
The fourth and earliest obtainable edition of Pericles. It was printed to form part of the first attempt of a collected edition of the plays of Shakespeare, preceding the First Folio by four years. In total, Pavier printed 10 plays for his envisaged collected edition, most bibliographically independent. Pericles was the third of 3 plays printed with continuous quiring, but its separate title-page and independent survival indicates that it too was available separately. Pericles was a great popular success, both on the stage and in print. It was first performed by Shakespeare's company, the King's Men, in 1607 or early 1608 and thereafter at 'divers and sundry times acted by his Majesty's Servants at the Globe on the Bankside', according to the title-page of its first edition of 1609. The subsequent quartos all derive from the first with only minor modifications, as does the text printed in the Third Folio in 1664, the first time that the play appeared in a folio edition. Drawn from versions of the fifth century Greek romance of Apollonius of Tyre by John Gower and Laurence Twine, Pericles has long been deemed a collaboration. Roger Warren, editor of the Oxford Shakespeare edition (2003), accepts that George Wilkins, author of the prose narrative The Painful Adventures of Pericles Prince of Tyre (1608), wrote scenes 1-9, and Shakespeare scenes 11-22. Yet he also emphasises the important place of the work in a closely-linked group of plays – Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest – written at the end of Shakespeare's career. No other copy of this edition and no copy of any earlier edition appears in ABPC. Greg 284(d); STC 26101.
Quarto (172 x 126mm). R1 with woodcut headpiece and opening initial. (Title supplied in facsimile, S4v soiled, small spot affecting quire T, some soiling and spotting to final leaf Bb.) Red morocco gilt by Leighton, gilt turn-ins and edges; modern red half morocco box. Provenance: Dr. Trueman (purchased by the London bookseller James Tregaskis and sold to:) – Sir Thomas Edward Watson of Newport (1851-1921, bookplate; two loosely inserted letters from Tregaskis to Watson, dated London 8 and 25 June 1906, one telling him: 'I am sending the quarto Pericles by registered post. You may have noticed that a copy not so tall as mine sold for £161 on the 26th last month'; the other supplying provenance; sold Christie’s 6 June 2007, lot 223).