11 - 13 July 2000
MORE, Thomas, Sir. (1478-1535). A Frutefull Pleasannt & Wittie Worke of the best state of a publique weale, and of the newe yle called Utopia. Translated into English by Ralph Robinson. London: [R. Tottell for] Abraham Vele, 1556.
8° (133 x 88mm). Black letter. Woodcut historiated initials of between 6 and 8 lines. (Title soiled, O1r also slightly soiled, occasional marginal soiling.) Red morocco gilt by Rivière and Son, sides with triple fillets, spine compartments directly lettered and dated in gilt, and with repeated flower and star ornament, gilt board edges and turn-ins, gilt edges. Provenance: Bernard Quaritch (collation note by F.S. Ferguson on rear pastedown); John Burns (ownership signature on front free endpaper, sold Sotheby's 14 March, 1944, lot 53, to Sawyer for £46).
Second edition of the first English translation of More's Utopia, in second state with colophon at end. In 'The Translatour to the Gentle Reader' Robinson is apologetic about the faults in the first edition, which had been published in 1551, with a dedication to his former school fellow, William Cecil, later Lord Burghley. 'The hastye bitche bringeth furth blind whelpes,' he writes. 'For when this my worke was finished, the rudeness thereof shewed it to be done in post haste ... yet I trust I have now in this seconde edition taken about such paines, that verye fewe great faultes & notable errours are in it to be founde.' It was a fair claim. This edition is described by Jackson as 'the most correct of all the early editions ... worthy of the tradition of the Tudor translators,' and is the one which Morris reprinted at the Kelmscott Press in 1893. Gibson 26b; Pforzheimer 740; STC 18095.5.
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