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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IV. Prose and Poetry: Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.

XI. The Text of Shakespeare

§ 13. Hanmer’s edition

Some of these abortive attempts were adopted by Sir Thomas Hanmer in his edition (1744), which was based, however, on that of Pope. He provided an édition de luxe for gentlemen of his own class. The print and binding were magnificent, and caused its value to rise to nine guineas, when Warburton’s edition was going for eighteen shillings. Pope has celebrated this, its chief feature, in the well known picture of Montalto and his “volume fair.” On its title-page, the text is said to have been “carefully revised and corrected by the former editions”; but there is no evidence that the old copies were consulted. Hanmer is nearer the mark when he says in the preface that it was only “according to the best of his judgment” that he attempted “to restore the genuine sense and purity” of the text. He relegated to the bottom of the page all the passages which Pope had thus degraded, and added several others, thinking it a pity that “more had not then undergone the same sentence.” His emendations are numerous, and are generally made in the reckless spirit of Pope; but his natural acuteness produced some conjectures of value.