07-20-2018 07-20-2018
Skinner Auctions
Skinner Auctions Boston MA
3117B Boston
July 20, 2018 12:00 PMCalender

Prynne, William (1600-1669) Histrio-Mastix. The Players Scourge, or Actors Tragaedie.

Auction: Books & Manuscripts - 3117B Location: Boston Date / Time: July 20, 2018 12:00PM


Prynne, William (1600-1669) Histrio-Mastix. The Players Scourge, or Actors Tragaedie. London: Printed by E[lizabeth] A[llde], [Thomas Cotes, Augustine Mathewes,] and W[illiam] I[ones] for Michael Sparke, and are to be sold at the Blue Bible, in Greene Arbour, in little Old Bayly, 1633 [i.e. 1632]. Quarto, first edition, second state, with imprint altered and errata on ***4 verso, bound in later full calf, gilt-tooled, with decorative spine, ex libris Frederick Shum, Bibliotheca Bathoniensis, with his bookplate pasted inside the front board, University London College Library duplicate, with stamp on verso of title, contents good, 7 1/2 x 5 1/4 in.

N.B. Histrio-Mastix is the most extensive and spirited Puritan attack on English Renaissance theater of its time. Prynne mentions Shakespeare by name. The book condemns almost every manifestation of dramatic performance of the period, including the use of young male actors representing women onstage, the "obscene lascivious love songs, most melodiously chanted out upon the stage," and even the celebration of Christmas (pagan, according to Prynne). Prynne was imprisoned for writing the book, had his ears cut off twice, and was branded on both cheeks with the letters S and L (for Seditious Libeller). Histrio-Mastix was banned and publicly burned.

[A]1 (lacking first blank), *4, **8, ***4, B-Z4, Aa-Zz4, Aaa-Zzz4, Aaa*-Kkk*4, Aaaa-Zzzz4, Aaaaa-Nnnn4 (Nnnn4 blank & present), Ooooo-Zzzzz4, 6A-6R4.
Estimate $2,000-3,000

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Michael Sparke, Thomas Cotes, Frederick Shum, Augustine Mathewes, London