The Government of a Wife; or, wholsom and pleasant Advice for married Men: in a Letter to a Friend. Written in Portuguese, by Don Francisco Manuel. With some Additions of the Translator, distinguished from the Translation. There is also added, a Letter upon the same Subject, written in Spanish by Don Antonio de Guevara, Bishop of Mondoñedo; Preacher, and Historiographer to the Emperor Charles V. Translated into English, by Capt. John Stevens.

London, Printed for Jacob Tonson … and R. Knaplock … 1697.

8vo, pp. xxiii, [1], 240; the dedication, to Ambassador Luís da Cunha, in both Portuguese and English; old paper repair in the lower margin of M6, some staining in gathering N, scattered spotting and light browning elsewhere, paper skinned in the gutter of Q3 and Q8, affecting a few words, as a result of adhesion presumably when the book was bound; contemporary panelled calf, rubbed, rebacked.

£2750

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The Government of a Wife; or, wholsom and pleasant Advice for married Men: in a Letter to a Friend. Written in Portuguese, by Don Francisco Manuel. With some Additions of the Translator, distinguished from the Translation. There is also added, a Letter upon the same Subject, written in Spanish by Don Antonio de Guevara, Bishop of Mondoñedo; Preacher, and Historiographer to the Emperor Charles V. Translated into English, by Capt. John Stevens.

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First edition, the first appearance in English of any work by de Mello (1608-1666), ‘a classic author’ in both Portuguese and Spanish, and ‘with Quevedo, the greatest writer of his generation in the Iberian Peninsula’ (Oxford Companion to Spanish Literature).

This is the second book to be published by John Stevens, the leading Spanish translator of his day. ‘In nearly all the works printed in his lifetime … Stevens did not obtrude his personality. The exception is his translation from the Portuguese of Francisco Manuel de Mello’s Carta de Guia de Casados … which deserves special attention for the light it throws on the translator’s cast of mind. English readers knew little of Portuguese literature beyond Camoens, and Stevens was the first to introduce them to a modern writer, whose Guia, first published in 1651, had been acclaimed for its wit and sagacity. It would have interested the Anglo-Saxon reader for its incidental portrait of Portuguese mores, but Stevens valued it for its wisdom. However, he did not regard it as sufficient to translate the text: if it was to be made relevant, it had to be fully “englished” by means of moral commentary, adapting it to a different social context. His interpolations, clearly distinguished from Mello’s text, confirm, interpret or modify the author’s views, making comparisons between Portuguese and English customs. Stevens was a man of strongly held opinions, and when given the chance to air them (as here) he does so in a vigorous, forthright style …’ (Martin Murphy, ‘A Jacobite antiquary in Grub Street: Captain John Stevens (c.1662-1726)’, Recusant History, 24 (1998-9), pp. 440-1).

Wing M 1648A. ESTC records 4 copies in the UK (none at Cambridge) and 9 in the US.

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