(Boston & New York: Shakespeare Head Press, 1928). 235 x 159 mm. (9 1/4 x 6 1/4"). Eight volumes. Translated by James Amyot and Thomas North. No. 152 OF 500 COPIES.
Quite attractive reddish-orange three-quarter morocco over buckram (signed "Bound at the Riverside Press" on verso of front endpaper), raised bands, spines ornately gilt in compartments featuring double fillet border, scrolling cornerpieces, and oval wreath, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. SIX VOLUMES UNOPENED (and a seventh mostly unopened). Illustrated headpieces and 16 plates (including frontispieces). Title pages with embossed library stamp of Robert Rutherford. Franklin, p. 235; Ransom, p. 15. Perhaps some slight evidence (after great scrutiny) of wear to the leather, one leaf with small skillful paper repair in fore margin (perhaps done before printing), but A VERY NEARLY PRISTINE COPY INSIDE AND OUT.
This handsome private press edition aims to be faithful to the original 1579 translation of Thomas North, with its quaint spelling and punctuation and its inconsistent use of capitalization and italics—but also with what DNB praises as his "admirably vivid and robust prose." North's edition had woodcut portrait busts of those profiled; these have been reproduced here for about half of Plutarch's subjects, but when more authentic portraits have been available from ancient coins or medals, they have been substituted as the headpieces. One of the West's most influential authors, Plutarch conceived of his biographies as studies in character, chronicles of how his famous Greeks and Romans respond to the vicissitudes of fortune. The lives are paired so that, for example, Demosthenes is compared to his fellow orator and defender of lost causes Cicero, and Caesar is coupled with Alexander the Great. In this way, Plutarch produces biographies that are not only important sources of Greek and Roman history, but also examples of the right and wrong paths in life. (For details on the press, see item #259, above.) The handsome bindings and the almost entirely unopened state of the text give the present set two distinctive merits. (ST15557-27)
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PJP Catalog: 75.259