1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmond Malone

David Rivers, in Literary Memoirs of Living Authors (1798) 2:18-19.



Of Queen Ann Street East. This gentleman, a native of Ireland, is the son of the late Attorney General of that Kingdom, and brother to Lord Sunderlin. He boasts a very high and deserved reputation in the literary world, as an Editor of Shakespeare, and appears to have devoted almost the whole of his time to the study and illustration of his immortal Author. Mr. Malone has written several Prologues and Epilogues, and published, in 1780, a very valuable Supplement, in two octavo volumes, to the edition of Shakspeare's Plays, published, in 1778, by Johnson and Stevens. In 1790, he produced his edition of the Plays and Poems of Shakespeare, in ten crown octavo volumes, which, though inferior in splendour to the elegant edition since published by Mr. Stevens, has obtained its editor most distinguished credit for his assiduity and critical acumen. Two years after the appearance of this work, Mr. Malone published a Letter to Dr. Farmer, relative to some distorted facts, in a pamphlet, entitled, Cursory Criticisms on his edition of Shakspeare; and in 1796, an octavo volume, entitled, An Enquiry into the Authenticity of certain Miscellaneous Papers, &c. attributed to Shakespeare. The latter of these performances had the honour of giving the finishing stroke to the infamous forgery of the Shakspearian MSS. (vide Ireland) and if we extend our indulgence to some extraneous matter, and a certain self-complacent, sarcastic asperity, flowing through the volume, we cannot but pronounce it, a most masterly piece of criticism, and a very learned and entertaining book. By this work Mr. Malone made a pious offering to the Manes of his celebrated author, and gave the public a new proof of his indefatigable diligence and accuracy. Mr. Malone was one of the executors of Sir Joshua Reynolds, and published his works, in two volumes, quarto, in 1797, prefixing an Account of the Life and Writings of the Author.