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Virgilius Maro Publius [Virgil]; John Dryden, trans. The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis: adorn’d with a hundred sculptures. London: Jacob Tonson, 1697. First Illustrated Edition.

A very good, presumed complete, small paper copy of the First Illustrated edition. Full older red leather with bright gold tooling on cover and bright gold titling on spine. Five raised bands. Rebound. Full leather binding is tight and square. Starting mild red rot at joints. Shelfwear to covers. Untrimmed. Frontis backed onto art paper plus 101 plates. Some waved pages beginning at pg. 45. Moderate to heavy toning and foxing throughout. Multiple pages with loss not affecting text or plates. One long closed tear to page 61. Three short strike through corrections inked by hand to page 35 and page 133, otherwise clean. Three misprinted page numbers, but text is complete (224 for 220, 448 for 484, and 503 for 493) page 638 bound in last (out of order). 640 pp. plus errata, unpaginated dedications, [102] plates, and reviews. Folio, 8 & 3/4 x 14 & 1/2 inches tall (text block). This is very large and heavy and will require extra
shipping charges, billed at cost.

To the Lord Clifford
The Life of Virgil
Preface to the Pastorals
To Mr. Dryden [Five reviews]
The Names of the First Subscribers
The Names of the Second Subscribers
Pt. I: Pastorals (1-10)
To the Right Honorable Phillip
An Essay on the Georgics
Pt. II: The Georgics (1-4)
To the Most Honorable John of Normandy
Pt. III: Virgil’s Æneis (1-12)
Post Script
Notes and Observations

Same edition as copy held by the British Library [Wing V-616].

Barnard, John. “The Large- and Small-Paper Copies of Dryden’s “The Works of Virgil” (1697): Jacob Tonson’s Investment and Profits and the Example of “Paradise Lost” (1688).” The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 92, no. 3 (1998): 259-71.

“This magnificently illustrated book is the first edition of John Dryden’s translation of Virgil, the ancient Roman poet. The collection includes the Pastorals or Eclogues, a source for the Renaissance Arcadian ideal; Georgics, an agricultural poem in four parts; and Virgil’s masterpiece the Aeneid, an epic poem chronicling the adventures of Aeneas, legendary ancestor of the Romans.

“The Works of Virgil (1694–97) was conceived, created and circulated by Dryden and the publisher Jacob Tonson. Their successful partnership established publishing methods and an aesthetic movement that shaped and defined literary production in the 18th century.

“Dryden did not translate Virgil’s work directly or literally into English. Instead, he revised, added to and reworked the classical Latin to make the poetry vivid and relevant to late 17th-century readers. In his ‘Dedication to John, Lord Marquess of Normanby, Earl of Mulgrave’, Dryden explains that his alterations were done with great reverence, and were only ever intended to extend and expand upon Virgil’s poetry: ‘They will seem (at least I have the vanity to think so), not struck into him, but growing out of him’ (sig. E4v). This translation technique was immensely popular. It sparked a new, more intuitive appreciation for classical literature and its translation which, in turn, grew into the clever, confident literary movement of the early 18th century known as the English Augustan Age, a period characterised by the poetry of Alexander Pope, the drama of John Gay and Jonathan Swift’s satire.

“Dryden’s work translating the text and the overall publishing costs were funded in advance by private subscribers, all of whom are named and acknowledged at the opening of the book (Sig. ††1r–††2v) and within cartouches at the bottom of the intricate illustrations that appear throughout. This innovative way of financing a large and lavish text was, like Dryden’s approach to translation, adopted with great success in the 18th and 19th centuries.” — The British Library.


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