Remarks on the Arabian Nights’ Entertainment; in which the Origin of Sinbad’s Voyages, and other oriental Fictions, is particularly considered …

London: Printed for T. Cadell, Junior, and W. Davies, Successors to Mr. Cadell … 1797.

8vo., pp. iv, 258, [2], with a final errata leaf; a very good copy in contemporary quarter calf and marbled boards (rubbed), rebacked.

£650

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Remarks on the Arabian Nights’ Entertainment; in which the Origin of Sinbad’s Voyages, and other oriental Fictions, is particularly considered …

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First edition of a whimsical but erudite treatise ‘first read at the meeting of a Literary Society in Exeter’, where members included Richard Polwhele. After initial scepticism, Hole’s research led him to conclude the narratives had a basis in fact. Hole went on to write a parallel work on Homer, a fragment of which was published posthumously as An Essay on the Character of Ulysses (1807). ‘Hole displays a considerable if curious erudition in illustrating the monsters and marvels encountered by the two Mediterranean travellers’, and his ‘imaginative reconstructions of exotic places and pagan beliefs anticipated much later romantic fabling’ (Oxford DNB).

Richard Hole (1746-1803), son of a canon of Exeter Cathedral, was a clergyman, poet and local antiquary; his best-known work, Arthur, or, the Northen Enchantments (1789), a romance in seven books, attempted to do for the West Country what Ossian had done for Scotland.

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