Robert Dodsley Bibliography

Servitude 1729
Dodsley’s first published work, with a preface and postscript ascribed to Daniel Defoe. In 1735, with help from his friends, for example, Pope lent him £100, Dodsley set himself up as a publisher at the ‘Tully’s Head’ in Pall Mall, London. Dodsley published most of Johnson’s works and helped to finance his dictionary. Dodsley also went on to found several literary periodicals: the Museum (1746-47, 3 vol.); The Preceptor: First Principles of Polite Learning (1748, 2 vol.), with an introduction by Johnson; the World (1753-56, 4 vol.); and the Annual Register (1758- ), with Edmund Burke as editor.
The Muse in Livery: or, the Footman’s Miscellany 1732
A collection of short poems published by subscription.
The Toyshop 1735
A satirical farce
The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green 1741
Select Collection of Old Plays 1744
(12 vols., 1744; ed. by Issac Reed, 1780, 12 vols.; 4th ed. by W. C. Hazlitt, 1874-76, 15 vols.)
Trifles 1745
Published in 2 vols. between 1745-7, a collection of dramatic works and poems which had previously been published separately
A Collection of Poems by Several Hands 1748
In his Preface to the Collection, which was published in three volumes, Dodsley claimed that his purpose was “to preserve to the Public those poetical performances, which seemed to merit a longer remembrance than what would be secured to them by the Manner wherein they were originally published”.

“In the same year (1748), Dodsley published a much revised and more refined edition of the set; in 1755 he added a fourth; he completed the collection in 1758 with a fifth and sixth volume. Pitched at wealthy purchasers and educated readers of poetry in the Augustan mode, the Collection far outsold all contenders and quickly gained a reputation as the epitome of polite taste in poetry. Before the next edition (1763) – the last before Dodsley’s death – Michael Suarez estimates that the bookseller had sold close to 24,000 volumes. Under the care of his brother-successor at Tully’s Head, the Collection continued to enhance its stature as the fashionable miscellany of choice, passing through six more editions until the last in 1782. Although displaced by a new mode of poetry at the end of the century, the Collection’s reputation continued long after. In 1814, when another miscellany of poetry was projected by the bookseller John Murray, Lord Byron would remember Dodsley’s Collection as the “last decent thing of its kind”. ” (James E. Tierney, review of Robert Dodsley, A Collection of Poems by Several Hands, edited by Michael Suarez, in TLR, 9 Oct. 1998.)
Cleone 1758
A domestic tragedy, in which the heroine was falsely suspected of infidelity to her husband and her son. The play had a long run at Covent Garden. 2,000 copies of the play were sold on the day or publication.