11 - 13 July 2000
LANGLAND, William (1330?-1400?). The Vision of Pierce Plowman, nowe the second time imprinted .... London: [R. Grafton for] Robert Crowley, .
4° (204 x 135mm). Black letter. Three-line woodcut initials. (Title rather soiled and with small, filled holes, M1 torn at upper right hand corner and restored but with loss of shoulder note on recto and some affect on the first letter of the first 8 lines on verso, final printed leaf restored in lower half, a few minor paper repairs elsewhere, occasional marginal soiling, without final blank.) 19th-century dark green morocco gilt by J. Clark, gilt edges. Provenance: Edmund Philips (bookplate removed); Henry Francis Lyte (bookplate at rear); Bernard Quaritch (collation note dated 15/12/19 on rear endpaper).
Second edition of Langland's alliterative poem which begins with the narrator's wanderings on Malvern Hills where he falls asleep and has his vision. Robert Crowley was also the publisher of the first edition in 1505; the second edition, of which there were two issues, is a literal copy of the first with headlines changed and some corrections in spelling. In 'The Printer to the Reader', Crowley explains how he has 'learned that the Author was named Robert Langelande, a Shropshire man, borne in Cleybitie, about viii miles from Maluerne hilles,' and dates the the work to between 1350 and 1400. Very little more is known about Langland today, although the date of composition has been narrowed down by modern scholarship to 1367-70. Grolier Langland to Wither 154; STC 19907a.
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