Publisher: London: Printed [for Edmund Curll] in the Year 1730.
Edition: First edition.
Bibliographical References: Lowe, English Theatrical Literature, 2642; NCBEL II, 751; MacDonald, Dryden, 332.
Condition: Edges rubbed; two abrasions on the front free endpaper; very good copy. Rare.
Book ID: 27269
Description8vo, contemporary paneled calf rebacked, maroon leather label, gilt decorated and lettered spine. Frontis portrait. 16-page publisher's catalogue for H. Curll.
Comments¶ The first attempt at a biography of playwright and author William Congreve (1670-1729), attributed by Ralph Straus in The Unspeakable Curll, to historian and dramatist John Oldmixon, a regular contributor to Curll's publications. The Memoirs are part factual, part spurious and part scandalous. Included is a copy of Congreve’s will, numerous inaccurate facts about his affairs, a reprinting of his novel Incognita, accounts of Dryden’s family and funeral by a Mrs. Elizabeth Thomas ("Corinna") and a lewd affidavit about four ladies which has no connection to Congreve or Dryden. There are also unrelated attacks on Pope and John Dennis. When news got out about Curll’s intention to publish the first memoir of the great Congreve, efforts were made, to no avail, to suppress its publication. The "H. Curll" name in the advertisements is for Henry Curll, Edmund's son, who took over the business when his father was serving time in prison for libel. Contemporary bookplate on the front paste-down of Robert Lord Clive.