FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF POPE’S ILIAD

The Iliad of Homer. Translated from the Greek by Alexander Pope, Esq. Philadelphia, for J. Crukshank, W. Young, M. Carey, H. & P. Rice, T. Dobson, J. Ormrod, J.

McCulloch, P. Stuart, 1795.

12mo, pp. 484; some small stains and marks, else a very good copy in contemporary sheep, red morocco spine label; upper joint cracked but firm, some wear to spine and corners, a few abrasions to boards; inscriptions of ‘James Carmalt’ (1812) and ‘C. Carmalt jnr’ (1815) to front free endpaper, remains of red wax seals to pastedowns, cancelled bookplate of University of Chicago Library.

£850

Approximately:
US $947€966

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The Iliad of Homer. Translated from the Greek by Alexander Pope, Esq. Philadelphia, for J. Crukshank, W. Young, M. Carey, H. & P. Rice, T. Dobson, J. Ormrod, J.

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First American edition of Pope’s rendering of the Iliad. Pope began his reinterpretation of Homer’s epic poem when in his early twenties. Following several years of ‘great pain and apprehensions’, as Pope drafted his text on the backs of letters sent to him and his mother (now preserved in the British Library), his sumptuous six-volume edition was published between 1715 and 1720 by Bernard Lintot, with subscribers paying a guinea a piece. The Iliad, and his later Odyssey, established Pope’s fortune and enhanced his fame, prompting him to later write, ‘But (thanks to Homer) since I live and thrive, Indebted to no Prince or Peer alive’. ‘The ‘Homer’ was long regarded as a masterpiece, and for a century was the source from which clever schoolboys like Byron learnt that Homer was not a mere instrument of torture invented by their masters. No translation of profane literature has ever occupied such a position’ (DNB).

In contrast with the first Lintot edition, the first American edition is a charmingly simple rendering of Pope’s text, in a convenient format.

Evans 28852; ESTC W12843. Library Hub (Copac) notes only two copies in the UK (Liverpool and London Library).

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