London. Printed for William Turner, 1705. 1705. Bound in later quarter vellum.
The first edition of playwright and actress Susanna Centlivre's (bap. 1667?, d. 1723) convoluted gambling comedy, adapted from French dramatist Jean Francois Regnard's (1655-1709) Le Jouer (1696). The Gamester met with tremendous success and firmly established Centlivre as a part the pantheon of celebrated seventeenth-century playwrights, yet the professional life of the female dramatist remained complicated, with many of her works, as here, being published anonymously and accompanied by a prologue implying a male author.
CENTLIVRE, English dramatic writer and actress, was born about 1667, probably in Ireland, where her father, a Lincolnshire gentleman named Freeman, had been forced to flee at the Restoration on account of his political sympathies. When sixteen she married the nephew of Sir Stephen Fox, and on his death within a year she married an officer named Carroll, who was killed in a duel. Left in poverty, she began to support herself, writing for the stage, and some of her early plays are signed S. Carroll. In 1706 she married Joseph Centlivre, chief cook to Queen Anne, who survived her.. Item #375J