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The Toy Shop (1735) The King and the Miller of Mansfield (1737)   By: (1703-1764)

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First Page:

THE AUGUSTAN REPRINT SOCIETY

THE TOY SHOP

(1735)

THE KING AND THE MILLER OF MANSFIELD

(1737)

ROBERT DODSLEY

Introduction by

HARRY M. SOLOMON

Publication Number 218 219 WILLIAM ANDREWS CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY University of California, Los Angeles 1983

GENERAL EDITOR

DAVID STUART RODES, University of California, Los Angeles

EDITORS

CHARLES L. BATTEN, University of California, Los Angeles GEORGE ROBERT GUFFEY, University of California, Los Angeles MAXIMILLIAN E. NOVAK, University of California, Los Angeles NANCY M. SHEA, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library THOMAS WRIGHT, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

ADVISORY EDITORS

RALPH COHEN, University of Virginia WILLIAM E. CONWAY, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library VINTON A. DEARING, University of California, Los Angeles PHILLIP HARTH, University of Wisconsin, Madison LOUIS A. LANDA, Princeton University EARL MINER, Princeton University JAMES SUTHERLAND, University College, London NORMAN J. W. THROWER, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library ROBERT VOSPER, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library JOHN M. WALLACE, University of Chicago

PUBLICATIONS MANAGER

NANCY M. SHEA, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

CORRESPONDING SECRETARY

BEVERLY J. ONLEY, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

FRANCES MIRIAM REED, University of California, Los Angeles

INTRODUCTION

The career of ROBERT DODSLEY (1703 1764), or "Doddy" as Samuel Johnson affectionately called him, resembles nothing so much as the rise of Francis Goodchild in Hogarth's Industry and Idleness (1747) series. Like Goodchild, Dodsley began as a humble apprentice and, through energy, ingenuity, and laudable ambition, grew prosperous and gained the esteem of all London. Today Dodsley is remembered as the most important publisher of his period, a man who numbered among his authors Pope, Young, Akenside, Gray, Johnson, Burke, Shenstone, and Sterne. His long labored Collection of Poems (1748) rescued many of his contemporaries' works from pamphlet obscurity and even now provides both the best and the most representative introduction to mid eighteenth century English poetry. His twelve volume A Select Collection of Old Plays (1744) made the lesser Elizabethan dramatists, long out of print, available again.

It is one of the minor ironies of literary history that the man who did so much to insure the survival of the poems and plays of others has had his own almost entirely forgotten. For Dodsley was not always a bookseller. When he escaped his country apprenticeship and fled to London to work as a footman, Dodsley had his heart set on literary distinction; and it was first as poet and later as playwright that he came to the attention of the Town. Although a few of his poems are as ingratiating as Dodsley himself is reported to have been, most are now aesthetically irretrievable. His dramas, in contrast, remain interesting. Two of the best The Toy Shop (1735) and The King and the Miller of Mansfield (1737) were much more popular than his earlier poems and for a time made him seem the equal of fellow dramatist Henry Fielding. So great was the vogue of these two works that Dodsley has been described as the principal developer of the sentimental or moralizing afterpiece.[1] Both works are short afterpieces intended to complement or contrast with the full length play on the day's bill and both moralize conspicuously; the two plays could, however, hardly be more different in tone and technique.

The Toy Shop grew out of Dodsley's admiration of and consequent desire to emulate the witty raillery of Augustan satire. When he sent Pope his newly minted collected poems, A Muse in Livery (1732), Dodsley also included an orphan muse in the packet. In February of 1733 Pope politely responded that he liked the play and would encourage John Rich to produce it, but that he doubted whether it had sufficient action to engage an audience... Continue reading book >>




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