An Online Reader of John Cotgrave’s
THE ENGLISH TREASURY OF
WIT AND LANGUAGE
By Joshua J. McEvilla, with contributions
from Sean M. Winslow




{ Facet Search. }

{ Source Index. }

{ Subject List. }

{ Commentary. }

{ How to Use. }

{ References. }

{ Tables. }

This website is the online component to a number of articles that discuss various aspects of the life of the mid-seventeenth century journalist and translator John Cotgrave and his English Treasury of Wit and Language (1655) — the earliest print miscellany to consist entirely of extracts of British print and manuscript drama. The website provides a means of studying 58 dramatists and 240 of their plays from the perspective of Cotgrave’s interests and his sense of their utility for moral and literary edification. All in all, Cotgrave’s book consists of 1,701 quotations of between 2 and 60 lines, whereof 44 are of 2 to 3 speakers, classified under 202 subject headings. The project makes available the provenance of 1,686 of the quotations discovered through searches of EEBO-TCP, ECCO-TCP, Literature Online, and Google Books, where previous scholarship has been forced to rely on traditional library searching and a few heavily annotated ex-libris copies of the eighteenth century antiquarian and bibliographer William Oldys. Cotgrave’s book is now known to contain 160 quotations from 29 of Shakespeare’s plays, with one extract from Two Noble Kinsmen newly reported here.


© Joshua McEvilla, j.mcevilla@utoronto.ca
 Updated: 12 October 2017.