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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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  • 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 Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio

    The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio

    The complete unabridged Modern Library edition. Published in 1951 (by reference to the number of book on the list back of dust jacket). Thick octavo, 630 pages. With a forward by Morris Ernst dated 1930 regarding the difficult time the book had had in America because of draconian obscenity laws. Well here it is unadulterated.

    Translated by John Payne, which must have been a lengthy task and one well done. It has stood the test of centuries and was a source of inspiration for Chaucer, Shakespeare and Keats.

    Good condition albeit with two previous owners names on the end papers and later date stamp on half title. Light chips to dust jacket and a hint of fading, now protected in Brodart.

    A lusty bawdy delight by Boccaccio translated by Payne

    $40.00

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  • The Peculiar Use and Signification of Certain Words in the Latin Tongue: or, a Collection of Observations, wherein the Elegant, and Commonly Unobserv’d Sense of very near Nine Hundred Common Latin Words. William Willymott – 1713

    The Peculiar Use and Signification of Certain Words in the Latin Tongue: or, a Collection of Observations, wherein the Elegant, and Commonly Unobserv’d Sense of very near Nine Hundred Common Latin Words. William Willymott – 1713

    A scholarly book from the early eighteenth century. One that will give any reader a leg forward in the intellectual stakes.

    Published by R Bonwick printed at the Cambridge University Press in 1713. A second edition. Scarce.

    Octavo, 4, 374 pages bound in original full panelled calf, spine with raised bands, losses to ends, joints tender. Some long gone worming to the margin of a few of the last leaves, otherwise a pretty good proper antiquarian copy.

    We have no date of birth but William Willymott died in 1737. He was born at Royston, Cambridgeshire and educated at Eton and then Kings College, Cambridge were he graduated B.A. M.A. L.L.D. by 1707. He was made a Fellow. He became an usher at Eton and then founder pf Isleworth Private School. He was suspected as having an attachment to the Pretender which hampered his career. He considered law but changed his mind and took orders … living at the Rectory Milton near Cambridge. He died at the Swan Inn at Bedford … not a bad pub.

    Overcome your Latin deficiencies with Willymott – 1713

    $190.00

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  • The Fortunes of Fifi – Molly Elliot Seawell – First Edition 1903

    The Fortunes of Fifi – Molly Elliot Seawell – First Edition 1903

    A first edition published by Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis in 1903. Interestingly, carries the booksellers sticker of Dymock’s Book Arcae, 428 George Street. Dymocks, Australia’s favourite book store was started in 1879 but soon moved to the aforementioned address as the business took off.

    Fifi is a young actress in fourth rate theatre in Paris. Napoleon is involved in a minor way. She has confidantes and admirers and much love and lost love ensues. She turns out to be related to a certain person in very high place … things get rich and in a tangle which really she is not that thrilled with – eventually, she ends up with the one she should. Complex and intriguing romance. The outline is easily told … it became an early silent movie circa WW! And was very successful.

    Octavo, 239 pages, with decorative end papers that match the delightful pictorial covers. A very good copy.

    Classic Romance based in Paris, became one of the very first movies.

    $50.00

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  • Petronius – The Satyricon – Private Press – Norman Lindsay Illustrated – 1910

    A Revised Latin Text of the Satyricon with the Earliest English Translation (1694) Now First Reprinted with an Introduction together with One Hundred Illustrations by Norman Lindsay

    Published privately by Ralph Straus, London 1910. Folio, (33cm by 26cm), 303 pages, 100 leaves of plates.

    First English translation side by side with the Latin on alternating pages. The Satyricon, Satyricon liber (The Book of Satylike Adventures) a work of fiction by Gaius Petronius. It is and example of Menippean satire.

    Gaius Petronius Arbiter (27AD-66AD) was born in Marseille. He became a Roman Courtier in the reign of Nero. He is well mentioned by Tacitus, Plutarch and Pliny the Elder who regarded him as a “judge of elegance”. Petronius became a member of the Senatorial Class who devoted their lives to pleasure … he was essentially a fashion advisor to Nero. Sleeping by day he devoted night time to amusement … he had a reputation of being very good at it!

    In the Satyricon, Petronius uses a new style of writing in that each of the characters are well and openly described. Previously, such literature focused mainly on the plot. There is no holding back in terms of moral issues, and it is thought that the main character Trimalchio (who is on the naughty side) is a cameo of Nero.

    Petronius fell out of favour and committed suicide in a rather strange manner.

    Goings on in the Days of Nero – with numerous Norman Lindsay Illustrations.

    $390.00

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