A Philosophical Analysis and Illustration of Some of Shakespeare’s Characters. The Second Edition, Corrected.

  • Richardson, William
  • London: Printed for J. Murray 1775
  • ESTC N20611.


SKU: 5174 Category: Tag:


8vo, pp. [iv], 203, [1]. Modern quarter calf, marbled boards, spine divided by double blind rules, brown morocco label. Just a touch of spotting. A few scattered marginal notes in pencil.


A study of 4 major Shakespearian characters: Macbeth, Hamlet, Jacques (from 'As You Like It') and Imogen (from 'Cymbelene'), by polymath scholar William Richardson (1743-1814). Richardson was made Professor of Humanity in Glasgow in 1773 and published the first edition of this work the following year. This second edition is rare this side of the Atlantic, with ESTC recording 13 copies but only Royal Holloway in the UK, the rest save Bibliothèque Mazarine and Pretoria State Library being in US institutions. The psychological approach won him many plaudits, including from Edmund Burke, who singled out the chapter on Macbeth for praise in a letter to Richardson, writing 'your tracing that progress of corruption [...] is refined and deep, and tho' there are several ingenious moral criticisms on Macbeth, this seems to me quite new'.

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