Large 8vo, pp. 696; a very good copy in publisher’s green cloth, gilt-lettered spine, green dust-jacket lettered in white; slight wear to extremities, dust-jacket chipped and worn; from the library of Denis Healey.
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Edited by Edward Mendelson.
First edition. Denis Healey’s copy, with his signature dated 1976 to front free endpaper, his occasional marginal pencil marks, and a few notes to rear pastedown. Denis Winston Healey, Baron Healey (1917-2015) served as Secretary of State for Defence from 1964 to 1970, Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1974 to 1979 and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1980 to 1983.
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IN MEMORY OF HIS DAUGHTERS LA SERRIE, François-Joseph de.
Dithyrambes, ou petites élégies; dédiées à Madame Le Pédour, Annette-Sergent Pain (de Rochefort); par M. de La Serrie (de la Vendée); avec cinq sujets dessinés et gravés soigneusement de sa main.
Very rare first edition of this collection of twenty-one elegies composed by the writer, artist and engraver François-Joseph de La Serrie (1770-1819), largely inspired by the deaths of his two daughters Marie Louise Aspasie, who died aged 15 in 1812, and Marie Rosalie-Cecile Virginie, who passed away three years later at the age of 23. The occasionally moving verse – in élégie XV the author struggles to explain his daughter’s death to his grandson – dwells on the themes of death, sorrow, hope, friendship, prayer and faith. The handsome accompanying plates, also by the author, depict Mary and the infant Jesus, his daughters’ tombs, St Cecilia, and St Similien of Nantes. The notes at the end include interesting passages on ancient libraries and on printers, including praise for the Didot family.
La Serrie’s works – which range across literature, philosophy and art, and include a life of Mary, Queen of Scots – were carefully printed in small numbers and distributed to his friends. This copy was presented by the author to a Madame Gillet.
Only one copy traced on OCLC, at the BnF. Not in Quérard.
Catullus Carmen 17.6 and Other Mysteries. A Study in Editorial Conflict, Eccentricity, Forgery, and Restitution. With a checklist of significant printed editions of Catullus in Latin, 1472-2005.
This partly historical, partly philological essay offers a general account of the early preservation, post-medieval recovery, and Renaissance evolution of the text of Catullus, with specific reference to one speculative reading in Carmen 17 (‘De Colonia’), and certain humanist twists and forgeries that accompanied its long editorial history.
Accompanying the narrative is a substantial bibliographical appendix that provides a checklist of significant editions of Catullus in Latin from 1475 to the present day, with brief notes of relevance and location.
Arthur Freeman is a rare book dealer and writer living in London. In 2014 Quaritch published his Bibliotheca Fictiva: a Collection of Books and Manuscripts Relating to Literary Forgery 400 BC – AD 2000. Catullus Carmen 17.6 is the second footnote to that book, following Julia Alpinula (2015).