Elaborately illustrated First pine edition of the complete works of Horace; Alexis de Tocqueville's copy, lengthily inscribed to him by his Father
Horatii Opera (The Complete Works of Horace).
Horatius Flaccus, Quintus (Alexis de Tocqueville).$15,000.00
Item Number: 81146
John Pine: London, 1733-37.
First Pine edition of the collected works of ancient Roman poet and political figure Quintus Horatius Flaccus (Horace), “the most elegant of English eighteenth-century books in which text and illustrations alike are entirely engraved” (Ray). French statesman Alexis de Tocqueville’s copy, inscribed to him by his father in Volume I, “Donné à mon fils Alexis le 5 septembre 1822, jour où il a obtenu le prix d’honneur en Rhétorique, le premier prix en version Latine, le second prix en discours Francais, et gratia accessis. Metz, le 5 septembre 1822 le C[om]te de Tocqueville.” Alexis de Tocqueville received the gift as 17-year-old student on the occasion of an academic competition at the Lycee Fabert in Metz in which he received the first distinction in Rhetoric, first distinction in Latin translation, and second distinction in French Discourse with great commendation as is noted in the inscription. The leading Roman poet throughout the time of Augustus, Quintus Horatius Flaccus (Horace) created an extensive body of poetic works and became a leading spokesman for the Octavian regime after serving as an officer in the republican army during the Battle of Phillippi in 42 BC and befriending Augustus’ primary political advisor, Gaius Maecenas. Horace’s interrelation of poetry and politics made him a staple in classrooms through late antiquity; his influence extending beyond literature to dignify many of the core themes of the early Christian era such as self-sufficiency and inner contentment. Interest in his work was revived during the Age of Enlightenment throughout Europe and new editions of his works were published almost yearly. His influence on Tocqueville’s development is apparent, as Tocqueville too became a master of blending passionate rhetoric with explicit political analysis. In near fine condition. Octavo, 2 volumes, bound in full 18th-century French morocco, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. In near fine condition, housed in a marbled board slipcase. An exceptional example providing a unique insight into the development of one of the most important figures in classic liberalism.
Best known for his works Democracy in America and The Old Regime and the Revolution, Alexis de Tocqueville was born into a Norman aristocratic family in Paris, France in 1805. His father, Hervé Louis François Jean Bonaventure Clérel, Comte de Tocqueville, was an officer of the Constitutional Guard of King Louis XVI and narrowly escaped death by guillotine during the French Revolution (1789-1799). He became a noble peer and prefect when power was restored to the brothers of Louis XVI during the Bourbon Restoration. His son, Alexis de Tocqueville attended the Lycee Fabert in Metz in Lorraine from 1817 to 1823 and began his political career in 1839 serving as deputy of the Manche department and was soon invited to enter Odilon Barrot's government as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Throughout his works, Tocqueville argued the importance of individualism in counterbalancing the 'tyranny of the majority' and of democracy in balancing the virtues of liberty and equality. John Pine (1690-1756) was the "best English engraver in the first half of the [eighteenth] century. His edition of [The Complete Works of] Horace is engraved throughout, text as well as ornament, though it is said that the text was first set in type and an impression transferred to the plate before it was engraved. The results are a unity between decoration and text which at times suggests Didot's Horace of 1799; a contrast between thick and thin strokes in the letters which naturally follows from the engraving process but which foreshadows the type design of Baskerville, Bodoni, and Didot; and the wide "leading" between the lines of the text which did so much to give their pages a brilliant effect" (PMM).