1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Steevens

David Rivers, Literary Memoirs of Living Authors (1798) 2:279-80.



A gentleman of fortune, resident at Hampstead, and a most distinguished character and acute Editor of Shakspeare. He published, in 1766, Twenty of the Plays of Shakspeare, in four octavo volumes. A year previously to the appearance of this edition, Dr. Johnson had published an edition of Shakspeare's Plays with Notes, in eight octavo volumes. A coalition between these two editors having been negociated, the edition of Shakspeare commonly called Johnson's and Steevens' Edition made its appearance, in ten octavo volumes, in 1773. It was reprinted, by these gentlemen, in the same number of volumes, five years afterward; and again, in 1785, under the care of Mr. Reed, who undertook the office of editor at the request of Mr. Steevens. The fourth edition of this work, with great additions and improvements, was published by Mr. Steevens, in 1793, in fifteen octavo volumes. In its present form this is by far the most complete edition of Shakspeare extant. The diligent editor has taken every possible pains to render his work full, clear, and convenient; and such are the utility and excellence of the prolegomena and notes, such also the elegance of the typographical execution, that we may say our immortal bard is edited in a manner becoming his fame.