BOSWELL, James

AUTHOR’S PRESENTATION COPY TO ANDREW LUMISDEN

BOSWELL, James. An Account of Corsica, The Journal of a Tour to that Island, and Memoirs of Pascal Paoli. By James Boswell, Esq; Illustrated with a New and Accurate Map of Corsica.

 London, Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly in the Poultry, 1769.

£6500

8vo, frontispiece plate with engraved portrait of Pascal Paoli by J. Lodge after Henry Bembridge, title page, “Letter” and “Preface” (pp. xxxii), large engraved folding map of Corsica (from the same plate as in the first edition, but with a scale of miles added), text from pp. 33 to 400. Bookplate to front pastedown of American collector Joseph Y. Jeanes from Philadelphia. Rebound in late C19th half red morocco and marbled paper over boards by the famous Philadelphia binders firm Pawson and Nicholson (see printed name to top outer corner of verso of first front endpaper). Corners and joints partly rubbed and worn, small tear to folding map, lightly yellowed throughout and occasional minor spotting. Waterstaining on head of flyleaf with Boswell’s inscription: “To Andrew Lumisden Esq: as a mark of sincere regard from the Author”. A very good copy.

Third edition of this famous account of Corsica by the English writer, novelist and travel diarist James Boswell, which is also an important presentation copy from the author to his dear friend Andrew Lumisden. The preface to this edition includes for the first time a eulogistic letter from George Lyttelton to Boswell in praise of Paoli. Boswell, a Scottish lawyer, is mainly remembered as the biographer of Samuel Johnson. He was invited to visit Corsica by Paoli in August 1764 whilst he was travelling in Italy. Boswell was determined to get to Corsica and stated that had he not received a formal invitation, he should still go, and probably be hanged as a spy. ‘He crossed from Leghorn to Corsica; saw the great Paoli; talked politics to him . . . He also took the liberty of asking Paoli “a thousand questions with regard to the most minute and private circumstances of his life” ’ (DNB). He apparently played Scottish airs to the Corsican peasantry. He returned to London with his head full of Corsica, and against Johnson’s advice, resolved to write an account of his experiences. This is a refreshing contemporary observation of eighteenth-century Corsica and covers a number of aspects; the first chapter consists of a geographical analysis of the Island followed by a historical and political overview. The book concludes with Boswell’s journal of his tour of the Island and the memoirs of Pascal Paoli. However, the book did not receive general approval. Walpole laughed at it and Gray described the journal as a “dialogue between a green goose and a hero”. Boswell never ceased to champion the Corsican cause and published a volume of “Essays in favour of the Brave Corsicans” in the spring of 1769. Andrew Lumisden (1720–1801), an “active and accurate antiquary”, was a Scottish Jacobite with whom Boswell became acquainted in Rome in 1765. They became good friends and Lumisden later assisted Boswell when he was writing the Life of Dr Johnson, by deciphering place names in the diarists’ journal of a French tour in late 1775.

Rothschild 446, 447.

CAESAR, Gaius Iulius

CAESAR, Gaius Iulius. Commentariorum de bello Gallico libri VIII. De bello civili Pompeiano libri III. De bello Alexandrino liber I. De bello Africano liber I. De bello Hispaniensi liber I.

Lyon, apud Sebastianum Gryphium, 1543.

£185

8vo, pp. (lvi) 496 (xlviii), a-g8 d4 a-z aa-ll8, wanting the first 56 unnumbered pages (xlviii, a-g8 d4), except for one leaf (Aldus’s preface to the reader, d4?). Italic letter, a little Roman. Printer’s device on title page (lacking) and last. Woodcut initials. Occasinal early ink marginalia and recent pencil additions. In C19th blue paper wrappers, wrong title on paper label to spine (Caesar, Aldus, 1513). Some light toning, browning and marginal dampstaining throughout, a.e.r.

Printed by Gryphium in Lyon, this defective counterfeit copy includes Caesar’s commentaries edited by the Italian Dominican friar and humanist Giovanni Giocondo from Verona (1433-1515), which was first published in Venice by Aldus in 1513. This edition contains Caesar’s extant works: the “Commentarii de Bello Gallico”, Caesar’s account of his campaigns in Gaul, covering the period from 58 to 52 B.C.; and the “De Bello Civili”, covering the events of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey in 49 and 48 B.C.. Also included are Book VIII of the “Bellum Gallicum”, and the “Bellum Alexandrinum” (appended to the three books of the “Bellum Civili” as Books IV through VII), both attributed to Caesar’s lieutenant Aulus Hirtius. The volume concludes with an “index of people and places” by Raimondo Marliani. Admired for their style (most famously by Cicero) and read by both his supporters and detractors alike in antiquity, Caesar’s Commentarii fell into obscurity in the Middle Ages. It was in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that Caesar once again became the focus of intensive study, particularly in Italy, where the question of whether dictatorship or republic was the best model for government was hotly debated. In this debate, Caesar stood as the prime exemplum of the tyrant and Scipio Africanus was promoted as the emblem of the virtus romana of Republican Rome. Caesar’s military genius and skills as a politician were also much studied in this period and into the sixteenth-century. “The unadorned style of Caesar’s Commentarii, the rejection of rhetorical embellishments characteristic of true historia, the notable reduction of evaluative language- all contribute to the apparent objective, impassive tone of Caesar’s narration. Beneath this impassivity, however, modern criticism has discovered, so it believes, tendentious interpretations and distortions of the events for the purpose of political propaganda.” (Conte, “Latin Literature, A History”)

QUINTILIAN

QUINTILIANUS, Marcus Fabius. Oratoriarum institutionum libri xii.

 Paris, Apud Fran. Gryphium, 1539.

£800

4to, ff. (iv) 228 LXVI, A4 a-z8 A-E8 F4 2A-2G8 2H4 2I6. Roman letter, some Italic, a little Greek and Hebrew. Printer’s device on t-p, capital spaces with small guide-letters. All annotated and underlined in ink throughout by different early hands, at least three; the thirteenth declamation (Apes pauperis) recently annotated with light pencil marginalia. Some waterstaining and oxidation, especially on the initial two gatherings; Dampstain on lower margins to gutter of the last two quires, occasional soiling and spotting. Early autograph of “John Herbert” (perhaps the English Secretary of State (fl. 1550-1617)?). Bookplate of Sir Charles Mordaunt (1836-1897) on front pastedown. Rebacked, in a C18th panelled calf binding, gilt dentelles and title to spine on red label. A good copy.

This is a scarce edition of the Institutes of Oratory in twelve volumes of the Spanish-born Roman rhetorician Quintilian (ca. 35-100 AD), which is one of the most renowned and popular works on the theory and practice of oratory. This work had an incredible influence, especially during the Renaissance, on the Western traditions of political oratory. At Rome Quintilian met with great success as a teacher and was the first rhetorician to set up a genuine public school and to receive a salary from the State. He continued to teach for twenty years and had among his pupils the younger Pliny and the two sons of Domitilla, the sister of Domitian. As a stylist, though he is often difficult owing to compression and the epigrammatic turn which he gives his phrases, he is never affected or extravagant. He is still under the influence of the sound traditions of the Ciceronian age, and his Latin is silver-gilt rather than silver. His Institutio Oratoria, despite the fact that much of it is highly technical, has still much that is of interest to‑day, even for those who care little for the history of rhetoric. Notably in the first book his precepts as regards education have lasting value: they may not be strikingly original, but they are sound, humane and admirably put. In the more technical portions of his work he is unequal; the reader feels that he cares but little about the minute pedantics of rhetorical technique, and that he lacks method in his presentation of the varying views held by his predecessors. But once he is free of such minor details and touches on themes of real practical interest, he is a changed man. He is really eloquent, and always vigorous and sound, while throughout the whole work he keeps the same ideal unswervingly before him.

Moreau V 1483.

 

 

 

ARISTOTLE (SEGNI, Bernardo)

ARISTOTLE (Segni, Bernardo, tr.). Trattato dei governi.

Venice, per Bartholomeo detto l’Imperador, & Francesco suo genero, 1551.

£1500

8vo, ff. 230 (xviii), a-z8 A-H8, 247 of 248 leaves, lacking final blank. Italic letter, a little Roman. Elegant full-page illustration on t-p with title within a shield framed by architectural portico, which is decorated with putti, figures and floral elements. Decorated initials and capital spaces with guide-letters. Library bookplate of Noël Pinelli on front pastedown. Blank t-p verso with early autograph of “Giovanni Messer Cantucci”(?) heavily crossed out in ink, appearing also on final leaf underneath the register without strikethrough. The early heavy ink strikethrough damaged and holed a small area of the t-p, also spotting the first historiated initial of the text. T-p soiled, wearing to margins, which slightly affect the illustration. Quire D and E quite browned, some spotting and light age yellowing throughout. In early limp vellum with ink title and library label to spine. A nice copy with good clean margins, despite the light foxing of gathering D and E, and the worn title page.

Third edition (first printed in 1547) of this Italian translation in Florentine vernacular of Aristotle’s Politics, which is dedicated to Cosimo de’ Medici. Bernardo Segni was a historian, diplomat and Hellenist who also translated into Italian Aristotle’s Ethics.

Adams, A-1922. Graesse, I, 218. Not in BMC.