7 June 2006
VOLTAIRE, Marie Arouet de (1694-1778). The White Bull: an Oriental History, [translated and edited by Jeremy Bentham]. London: J. Murray, 1788 [vol. II: J. Bew, 1774].
2 volumes in one, small 8° (155 x 97mm). (First title lightly browned.) Contemporary calf (spine rubbed, label split, upper joints cracked).
A SCARCE AND LITTLE KNOWN TRANSLATION BY BENTHAM, second issue, but title to vol. II the uncancelled title to the first issue. Both vols. have part-titles as well as titles, the former stating that in the book 'several bloody transactions are brought to light. Also a choice precedent in crown law'. The 2 errata leaves are bound at the start; whereas in the Houghton Library copy, which is the only recorded copy of the 1788 reissue, they are bound at the end. Bentham's involvement with Voltaire's Le Taureau Blanc was documented in J. Bowring's Life and Correspondence (Edinburgh, 1843), pp. x/82-3. Volume I consists entirely of his own preface which, while wholly relevant to the work that follows, also forms a savage satire against Sir William Blackstone. Among the last of Voltaire's writings, it was Bentham's first book, and his only excursion into fiction. Zachs John Murray 701.
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