Anecdoten zur Lebensgeschichte berühmter französischer, deutscher, italienischer, holländischer und anderer Gelehrten, erster [-zweyter] Theil.

Leipzig, Lankisch, 1762.

Two vols bound in one, 8vo, pp. x, 292; 377, [5]; with engraved frontispiece, engraved head- and tail-pieces, allegorical vignettes and initials, separate title to second vol.; a crisp copy, in contemporary blue/grey boards, extremities only slightly worn.


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Anecdoten zur Lebensgeschichte berühmter französischer, deutscher, italienischer, holländischer und anderer Gelehrten, erster [-zweyter] Theil.

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Scarce first edition of Hiller’s two-volume collection of literary, philosophical and historical anecdotes. The editor’s note at the end mentions the contemporary publication of a French work of similar inspiration, and states the editor’s intention to translate it and publish it as a sequel to his original collection. Thus, the sequel came out in the following two years as volumes III and IV, but with the different title Merkwürdigkeiten zur Geschichte der Gelehrten, und besonders der Streitigkeiten derselben, vom Homer an bis auf unsere Zeiten; Aus dem Franzosischen übersetzt.

Johann Adam Hiller (1728-1804) was a composer, conductor and one of Bach’s successors as Cantor in Lipsia, or Director Chori Musici Lipsiensis, as well as the compiler of a selection of musical anecdotes much in the style of this gathering. Although his wide connections with contemporary high-profile musicians facilitated his success as musical manager (he staged many of Handel’s operas), Hiller did not disdain taking on occasional lucrative if unglamorous translation works. The preponderant presence in this collection is undoubtedly French, but the variety of biographies (poets, philosophers, scientists, historians) offers a canon for a contemporary Republic of Letters with both a confidently selective and an eclectic inclusive outlook.

Mansell 246:267; Holtzmann & Bohatta 1727.

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