Page 8-9 - H&W Brochure #3

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Lodovico Ariosto; John Harington (translator); [Lytton Strachey].
Orlando Furioso in English Heroical Verse.
London: Richard Field, 1607. Folio, 11 x 7 inches, period-style full sprinkled calf gilt.
Engraved title by Thomas Cockson; 46 plates after Girolamo Porro. $8500.
Second English edition of
Orlando Furioso
, first published in Italian between 1516
and 1532, following the adventures of Charlemagne’s high-strung knight Orlando.
Translator Harington, the queen’s “saucy godson,” circulated a racy fragment among
her ladies, causing a stir. Elizabeth responded by barring Harington from court
until he had translated the entire epic. He completed the task in 1591; this second
edition is effectively a reprint of the first. In his unapologetic “apologie,” Harington
laughs at those who complain of his obscenity: “me thinks I see some of you
searching already for these places of the book, and you are halfe offended that
I have not made some directions that you might finde out and read them
immediatly.” Bookplate of Lytton Strachey, author of
Eminent Victorians
. An
important Elizabethan translation, with great literary provenance, bound by Rivière.
Homer; George Chapman (translator). The Iliads of Homer Prince of Poets.
London: Nathaniell Butter, [1611]. Folio, 11 x 7 inches, modern full blind-tooled morocco.
Engraved title by William Hole. $25,000.
First complete edition, first issue, of the first English translation of Homer’s
Elizabethan dramatist George Chapman had published individual books of the
epic as early as 1598, but it was not until this volume that the entire
in English, set in Chapman’s energetic fourteen-syllable lines: “So thicke helmes,
curets, ashen darts and round shields, never ending, / Flow’d from the navies
hollow wombe: their splendors gave heavens eye, / His beames againe; Earth
laught to see, her face so like the skie.” A touchstone for future translators,
Chapman’s achievement was particularly prized by the English Romantics.
Coleridge claimed that Chapman wrote “as Homer might have written had he
lived in England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth,” and Keats famously celebrated
the experience of “first looking into Chapman’s Homer.” A landmark of both
Greek and English literature.