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19th Century and Prior Classics

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  • Letters writ by a Turkish Spy, Who Liv’d Five and Forty Years Undiscovered at Paris; Giving an Impartial Account to the Divan of Constantinople of the Most Remarkable Transactions in Europe – Complete in Eight Volumes.  Giovanni Paolo Marana – 1748

    Letters writ by a Turkish Spy, Who Liv’d Five and Forty Years Undiscovered at Paris; Giving an Impartial Account to the Divan of Constantinople of the Most Remarkable Transactions in Europe – Complete in Eight Volumes. Giovanni Paolo Marana – 1748

    A very nice set of this almost legendary work, complete and unusually in their original bindings. Fictional letters claiming to have been written by an Ottoman spy named “Mahmut the Arabian” embedded in the French Court of Louis XIV.

    Published in London by Wilde, Ballard and others in 1748. Eight volumes (Over 600 letters in all), duodecimo, engraved frontispiece to Vol I, full contemporary calf, spines gilt, some joints a bit cracked but holding. A twelfth edition of a great publishing success of the 18thC which would go on for a further fifty years.

    Contemporary bookplate of Robert Midgley dated 1748 so the first owner. And the modern book label of Edward John Kenny the Latinist of Peterhouse College, Cambridge University, visiting at Harvard etc.

    A journal of gossip and anecdotes on politics and events and shenanigans going on in France at the time.

    Written in Italian by Giovanni Paola Marana (1642-1693) a Genoese refugee in the Court of the said Louis XIV. He completed the first volume of 102 letters, and had it translated to French and published in Paris in 1684-1686. Other volumes were published as they were completed over time. English translations by William Bradshaw became available in 1687. Later volumes issued first in English in London leading some to believe they were not by Marana. However, the consistency in style and use of words really points to Marana as being the author of the full set, not doubt with the help of translators and editors of the day.

    Well liked by Daniel Defoe who wrote an aptly named “Continuation of Turkish Letters Writ by a Turkish Spy in Paris” … a sort of 18thC sequel.

    Incidentally, the last owner Professor Kenny used to gauge his candidates by seeing how nice they were to his cat Fufu … it became known as the Fufu test … that’s Latin for you.

    The Turkish Spy – A Classic By Marana

    $890.00

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  • Ungava: A Tale of Esquimax-Land – Robert M. Ballantyne

    Ungava: A Tale of Esquimax-Land – Robert M. Ballantyne

    One of the most prolific writers of adventure for the young Scottish born Robert Michael Ballantyne (1825-1894) went to Canada at the age of 16. There he worked for six years for the Hudson Bay Company. In his autobiography he said that writing long letters to his mother on the goings on of the fur traders was the stimulus behind his first books.

    His first was “The Hudson Bay Company” and then “The Young Fur Traders” … this book was his fourth. He went on to pen over 100 books to the delight of his adventure seeking followers.

    An early 20th century edition published by Nelson, London. Octavo, 509 pages, blue cloth covered boards with sailing ship design and design to spine, coloured frontispiece. A very good copy indeed.

    A party of explorers head into Eskimo territory to establish a fur trading post at Ungava Bay. Situated in the Nunavik region of Quebec.

    Ballantyne in one of those “live there did that” adventures.

    $70.00

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  • Le Morte d’Arthur – Sir Thomas Malory – Shakespeare Head Private Press Limited Edition 1933

    Le Morte d’Arthur – Sir Thomas Malory – Shakespeare Head Private Press Limited Edition 1933

    Full title … The Noble & Joyous Boke Entitled Le Morte d’Arthur Nothwythstondying it Treateth of the Byrth Lyf and Actes of the sayd Kynge Arthur; of his Noble Knightes of the Rounde Table. Theye Merveylous Enquestes and Adventures. Thachyevynge of the Sanc.Greall and the Ende the Delourous Deth: and Departynge out of this Worlde of Them al. Wyche Boke was Reduced in to Englysshe by the Well Dysposyd Knyghte Syr Thomas Malory.

    Two volumes, quarto, number xxx of 350 copies for sale (a further 20 copies were not for sale) with 22 woodcut illustrations. Original binding in terra cotta half Morocco over ivory buckram, flat spines with gilt titling, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. Other edges untrimmed.

    The revered Shakespeare Head, Saint Aldates Oxford, edition of the most famous of the Arthurian tales, reprinted from and resembling in layout and typeface the 1498 edition of Wynkyn de Worde kept in the John Rylands Library, Manchester.

    Volume I comprises 4 initial blanks; half title; title with limitation on verso; prologus i-iv; table v-xxviii; Fyrste Boke to IX Boke 1-316 with woodcut in each; 3 final blanks. VolI comprises 4 initial blanks; half title; title with note to verso; Boke X – Boke XXI 1-373 with woodcuts to each and a further one in Boke XXI; notes 3; 3 final blanks. All as should be.

    Written in the 15th century by Thomas Malory the sweeping Mort d’Arthur includes the youth of Arthur, the romance of Guinevere and Lancelot, the Quest for the Grail, the tragedy of Tristan and Iseult etc.

    This superb work directly tied to the early days of printing in England, with broad margins, quality handmade paper and the impeccably reproduced typeface … all hallmarks of the Shakespeare Head Press.

    The Shakespeare Head Press was started in 1904 at Stratford Upon Avon by Arthur Bullen after he had had a dream about finely printing all of Shakespeare’s works at his birthplace, something that had not been done before. Much of his equipment and initial typeface came second had from William Morris’s Kelmscott Press. After Bullen’s death in 1927 the business was moved to Oxford under its new owners Basil Blackwell and Bernard Newdigate who was the typographer. They continued in the Morris tradition. The building in which they operated was commandeered by the American allies in 1942.

    King Arthur and his Legends and Death – Shakespeare Head Private Press edition.

    $690.00

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  • The Realms of Gold [Greek Legends] – George Baker

    The Realms of Gold [Greek Legends] – George Baker

    Originally published in 1954 this is a fine copy of the 1960 reissue. Published by the University of London Press, octavo, 262 pages, illustrated with drawing in the classic style, end paper maps. Very good near find condition with a fine dust jacket.

    Baker a published classicist retells Greek myths and legends in a very readable enjoyable style. Beginning with the quarrel that was to start the Trojan War. Then, the adventures of Perseus and the slaying of the Gorgon. Hercules freeing Athens and the terrible Minotaur. The Quest of the Golden Fleece with a capital “Q”. the wanderings of Odysseus …. To the settlement of the Trojan survivors in Italy and the foundation of Rome.

    The Greek Legends – no Latin required …

    $25.00

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  • Manila Galleon [Anson’s Voyage] – F van Wyck mason – First Edition 1961.

    Manila Galleon [Anson’s Voyage] – F van Wyck mason – First Edition 1961.

    An unusual one from the Anson’s Voyage Cannon … the novelisation of the dramatic events by American author Francis van Wyck Mason.

    First UK edition published by Hutchinson, London in 1961. Octavo, 490 pages plus appendices and explanatory forward. Dust jacket a bit tattered cloth covered boards a bit flecked. Nice and clean inside, end paper charts etc. A pretty good copy of an interesting read.

    The story of Anson’s voyage to put it about the Spanish in the Pacific and steal their gold [lots of it] from the “Manila Galleon” is a remarkable one. Several books from the period, mid 18th century, and many afterwards. Our author was languishing in a London hospital bed in 1946 when he read the interesting contemporary account of Pascoe Thomas … like many he was hooked on the broader story from then … it took a while to read the other volumes, assimilate the basis of his historical story and finalise this weighty fact based novel. We love it.

    The Manila Galleon – Anson’s Prize

    $80.00

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  • Kidnapped – Robert Louis Stevenson – 1950′s Dakers Edition

    Kidnapped – Robert Louis Stevenson – 1950′s Dakers Edition

    Published by Adam Dakers, London in the 1950’s, part of their Hamlyn Classic Series.

    Octavo, 204 pages, with vibrant coloured frontispiece and our favourite Kidnapped dust jacket. The book is in good condition albeit evenly toned throughout probably due to a post war experiment in having this series printed in Czechoslovakia.

    Vies with Treasure Island as RLS’s most important book … in Scotland no doubt their favourite.

    Kidnapped everyone should have one

    $30.00

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