CLOUD-CUCKOO-LAND

The Birds … Translated by the Rev. Henry Francis Cary … With Notes.

London: Printed for Taylor and Hessey … 1824.

8vo., pp. xxxvi, 179, [1]; uncut and partly unopened in the original publisher’s fine diaper cloth, spine lettered gilt, sunned; ticket of the Aberdeen booksellers D. Wyllie & Son.

£350

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First edition. ‘Given how much there is in Aristophanes to outrage and violate nineteenth-century manners and sensibilities, it may seem surprising how popular he was. The popularity came at the price of bowdlerizing much of the “grossness”, but there was admiration and even a certain yearning for his unbuttoned earthiness as well as for his aerial levity …

‘Henry Francis Cary, translator of Dante, turned out the first metrical version of The Birds in mainly iambic heptameters (“fourteeners”). This was one of many attempts to match the rollicking rhythm of the Greek’ (The Oxford History of Literary Translation into English, vol. IV, p. 184). It also contains the first appearance of the word ‘Cloudcuckooland’ (p. 76).

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