London: J. Johnson, 1795. First Edition. Hardcover. 2 vols. 1st edition in English. Contemporary full calf, complete with Dr. John Nott’s translator notes, the escorting Latin text, both half–tiles, and William Blake’s 2 engraved frontispieces (foxed in vol. I, offset to the title page in vol. II), joints strengthened (not rebacked), else very good. Very good. Item #440
In the late days of the Roman republic, Catullus (84 BC–54 BC) was their most celebrated neoteric poet (poetae novi), writing poems about private life, and doing so with bubbling enjoyment. He deeply influenced Ovid, Horace, and Virgil, and his works gave an insight into daily life in ancient Rome unlike anything prior to them, and certainly stimulating Plutarch to codify it all. There had been previous attempts to translate Catullus’ poetry into various languages, some more successful than others, but it was not until this book, from the one extant manuscript, that the monumental task of a complete rendition was finally accomplished in English.
A significant and worthy 1st edition in English at a fair and tempting price. It may not be for you, but its merits are easy to understand, and they allow you to take some solace in an antiquarian book market that is still offering weighty 1st editions at moderate prices. It doesn’t prove anything universally, it isn’t the slammed door of domestic arguments, but it is a sampling, and supports a belief that book collecting remains founded in actuality, that honest prospects still exist, and that one can rightly ignore those (with their dogged commitment to being resentful, and depressed by their memory of once being happy) who see the results of their own folly and call it the collapse of collector interest, then loudly and relentlessly prophesize the imminent demise of antiquarian bookselling, but hang around prepared to play any role in its burial, except that of a mute (Book Code).