Skip to main content
Book Details
Long title
Critical Strictures on the New Tragedy of 'Elvira', written by Mr. David Malloch
Year of 1st publication
Book description

Published anonymously in January 1763 by publisher William Flexney. Authored by Boswell, Andrew Erskine and George Dempster following their attendance of the opening night of David Mallet's tragedy Elvira on Drury Lane on January 19, 1763. None of them liked the Scottish born playwright David Mallet who had changed his original Scottish name Malloch to the English Mallet.

The strictures weren't exactly critically acclaimed, and the publication of the pamphlet even caused some problems between Boswell and David Hume, due to Boswell's referring to a private conversation he'd had with Hume (about Mallet) shortly before leaving Scotland in November 1762. Thomas Sheridan considered the strictures laughable (cf. Boswell's London Journal, November 8, 1763), and in a letter to David Hume of March 1, 1763, Boswell himself wrote, that "the Reviews on our performance [held us] forth as both ... fools and as knaves". Nevertheless, the famous actor seemed to like the strictures, however. (LJ220363)

The work has been hard to come by, until in May 2005, Project Gutenberg published a free e-version of the book, based on a facsimile edition of the original which was made in 1952 by the Augustan Reprint Society. That same edition was reprinted in the 1967 publication Prefaces to Fiction, also published by the Augustan Reprint Society. They are sometimes available from AbeBooks.

Click here to download Critical Strictures on the New Tragedy of 'Elvira' from Project Gutenberg.