The Rape of Helen. Translated from the Greek ... And illustrated with the Notes of Michael Nicander. To which is prefix’d a Fragment of the Author’s Life, from Suidas.

London: Printed for and sold by J. Roberts … and by the Booksellers and Pamphletsellers of London, 1731.

4to., pp. [4], viii, 34, [2], with an engraved frontispiece by Bickham Jr after Jett; title-page printed in red and black; the errata corrected in manuscript; a very good copy, lower edge uncut, disbound.

£1200

Approximately:
US $1483€1332

Add to basket Make an enquiry

Added to your basket:
The Rape of Helen. Translated from the Greek ... And illustrated with the Notes of Michael Nicander. To which is prefix’d a Fragment of the Author’s Life, from Suidas.

Checkout now

First and only edition, rare, of this translation of Collothus’s Rape of Helen (Αρπαγη Ελενης), ‘a short and charming miniature epic’ (Cambridge Companion to the Epic) written in the late fifth century in Egypt in 392 hexameters.

In a long and interesting Preface, the anonymous translator seeks to introduce (and defend) an unfamiliar work, lamenting that it never received Pope’s attention, and apologising for its form, which may confuse readers who already know the story or are hoping for ‘a prolix repetition of melting gallantry and amorous dalliance’. The translation was ‘written and performed before the full age of seventeen … by one who thro’ a slender patrimony has been confined to a scanty library, and his life hitherto … one continual scene of trouble’ – he has since improved his reading and his poetic ability, so if it meets success (it seems it did not), ‘the town may shortly expect a much better poem, full of finer Incidents and more remarkable events.’

This is Colluthus’s only surviving work, re-discovered by Cardinal Bessarion in Calabria in the fifteenth century and first printed by Aldus in c. 1505. A very rare Latin paraphrase by Thomas Watson was published in London in 1586 and a translation by Edward Sherburne appeared in his Salmacis, Lyrian & Sylvia (1651). Here it is accompanied by detailed notes, ‘The Speech of Paris to Helen’ translated from the possibly apocryphal Dictys the Cretan, and a short biography taken from Suidas.

For an elaborate production, with a title-page in red and black, and an engraved frontispiece, The Rape of Helen is surprisingly rare. ESTC records five copies only: BL (wanting frontis), Cambridge, Oxford; Duke, and Harvard (listed twice in error).

Foxon R 118.

You may also be interested in...

EARLY SWEDISH LITHOGRAPHY NORDQUIST, Per.

Strödda handteckningar … Efter originalerna copierade och utgifne i stentryck ...

First edition of a scarce series of fine and curious Swedish caricatures, printed in lithography by Ludwig Fehr, a native of Germany, who, together with Carl Müller, had introduced the process to Sweden by setting up the first lithographic press at Stockholm in 1817/18. In 1820 Fehr left for southern Sweden and settled for a while in Gothenburg where he established another lithographic press. Later he moved again to set up the first lithographic press in Kristiana in Norway; in 1823 his son Ludwig the younger joined the business.

Read more

LUMIÈRE, Louis and Auguste.

[cover title:] Le Photorama. Nouvel Appareil Photographique Panoramique Réversible.

Very rare first edition of the report on the Lumière brother’s Photorama, for which they had taken out the French patent on December 29, 1900. They describe the photographic apparatus with which a 360-degrree photographic panorama can be taken on a single transparency, and the projector that produces a full and continuous panorama on cylindrical screens of large dimensions.

Read more