Rare 16th Century Edition Homers Illiad and Odyssey In Contemporary Binding
The Iliad of Homer & The Odyssey of Homer.
Item Number: 78028
Strasburg: Bernard Lintot, 1542.
Early printing of Homer’s masterpieces The Iliad and the Odyssey in the original Greek. Octavo, bound in contemporary blindstamped pigskin over boards, brass clasps and hinges to The Odyssey. In excellent condition with some browning and general soiling. The Iliad with woodcut titles and printer’s devices at colophon (in Greek); some contemporary Greek and Latin annotations and scholia and on the pastedowns. The Odyssey contains a second woodcut title and printer’s device at conclusion to Hymns.
The subscribers list for the Iliad lists 575 subscribers, including Addison, Congreve, Newton, Steele and others; that for The Odyssey are 610 (including those in the supplementary list appended to the final volume). For the Odyssey, Pope was assisted by Elijah Fenton and William Broome, and pencil notes in the texts identify the responsible party for the specific Books and Notes. That those pencil annotations and incidental others in pencil in the same hand scattered elsewhere are Hobhouse's seems probable, as a pencil note in a quite similar (or same) hand appears at the conclusion of the Postscript to the final volume (14 Dec. 1843 J.H.), suggesting either the date of his acquisition of the set, or more likely, his completion of reading. Editions in folio (large and small) to benefit the publisher followed the appearance of each new volume in a timely fashion, the proceeds from Subscriber's quarto edition having been Pope's exclusively. Encouraged by Swift, Addison and Steele, among others, Pope began translating Homer in 1713. The arduous undertaking would prove to be the most laborious literary enterprise of his life, but one to which he was well-suited. "Idolatry of classical models was an essential part of the religion of men of letters of the day But a Homer in modern English was still wanting. Popes rising fame and his familiarity with the literary and social leaders made him the man for the opportunity The Homer was long regarded as a masterpiece, and for a century was the source from which clever schoolboys like Byron learnt that Homer was not a mere instrument of torture invented by their masters. No translation of profane literature has ever occupied such a position" (DNB).