(Antverpiæ [i.e., Leyden]: Christophorum Plantinum, 1586). 175 x 108 mm. (6 7/8 x 4 1/4"). 325 (i.e., 425),  pp. Second Plantin Edition.
Bound in very pleasant 18th century vellum, yapp edges, flat spine with title written faintly in ink. Plantin compass device on title page, historiated initials. Front pastedown with the armorial bookplate of Robert Shafto of Benwell; rear pastedown with the armorial bookplate of (Shafto's relative) William Adair. Voet 1724; Graesse IV, 628. Text with light marginal browning (one margin with three small brown spots), crease and tear in one leaf from faulty trimming (no text loss), otherwise very fine, the binding with virtually no soiling and without any appreciable wear, and the text clean and quite fresh.
An intelligent and scholarly reader of the classics, Marc Antoine Muret (1526-85) makes suggestions in these "Various Readings" for emendations and interpretations of a number of ancient authors, principally Cicero, Horace, Plautus, and Aristotle. Within each of the 15 books are typically 20 different sections, with no discernible pattern in their arrangement; Muret seems to have written them down as the observations struck him. The first eight books were published originally in 1559 by Zilleti in Venice, and the final seven books appeared for the first time in the 1580 Plantin edition, of which this is a reprint done (despite what the title page says) in the Plantin office in Leyden. Voet indicates that Plantin and Muret were introduced by the Netherlandish Jesuit Joannes Gravius and that they began correspondence in 1574 about the publication of the "Readings." After many delays, impatient letters, and indecision over the proper dedicatee, the text finally was printed some six years later. A professor of literature at Bordeaux, Muret taught the young Montaigne. Harried in France on charges of Protestantism and homosexuality, Muret fled to Italy, where he was befriended by the publisher Paulus Manutius. Christopher Plantin (1520-89) set up shop in Antwerp as a bookbinder in 1549, but he turned to printing in 1555 and soon rose to the top of his trade, both as a printer and type designer. He produced, among a great many things, the celebrated Antwerp Polyglot Bible of 1569-72 and a steady stream of emblem books. In 1575, he employed nearly 150 workers, who helped to keep more than 20 presses going, and for a time, he established premises in Paris and Leyden. The owner whose 18th century bookplate appears at the front here is apparently the Robert Shafto of Benwell (1732-97) referred to in the famous song "Bonny Bobby Shafto." He was a handsome and cavalier M.P. who campaigned using the "Bonny Bobby Shafto" nickname, and the song's lyrics supposedly refer to his jilting of a certain Bridget Belasyse, who died at the time of Shafto's marriage to Anne Duncombe. Ours is quite a fine copy of an uncommon book. (ST11124)
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PJP Catalog: ELIST5.002