In 1806, Longman & Co. publishers commissioned the accomplished actress, playwright, and novelist Elizabeth Inchbald to compose a series of prefatory remarks for the plays to be included in their British Theatre series. One hundred and twenty-five in all, each of the plays for Longman's British Theatre was originally published and sold separately at a rate of about one per week. Once the series was complete, the plays were bound together and sold as a twenty-five-volume set. As the surviving diary entries from the two-year period during which she wrote her Remarks testify, the task proved both arduous and unrelenting for Inchbald, especially as she had no hand in selecting the plays to be included and no control over the order in which she was asked to compose her critical commentaries. Working almost constantly, no sooner had she read one play, drafted her remarks, and copyedited the proof, than she had to turn to the next play sent by Longman, collect her thoughts, and start the process all over again. For the most part, as Annibel Jenkins has noted, “[T]here seems to be no pattern of publishing by date or genre; a tragedy by Shakespeare came out one week and a contemporary comedy the next.” At one point, the strain of this process was so unbearable that Inchbald even tried to renege on her contractual obligations, writing to Longman, “begging to decline any further progress.” This request, as her first biographer, James Boaden, records, Longman “could not be expected to permit; and she was therefore compelled to remark through the whole year.” In the event, and however “dreadful” the task may have been for Inchbald, the widely advertised series proved a “great commercial success,” and Inchbald's Remarks have come down to us as one of the first great achievements in English dramatic criticism of the early nineteenth century.