(Verona: Officina Bodoni for Members of the Limited Editions Club, 1952). 312 x 222 mm. (12 1/4 x 8 1/2"). xv, , 154 pp.,  leaves.Translated into English Verse by John Dryden. Designed by Hans Mardersteig. No. 938 of 1,500 copies, signed in the colophon by the engraver and the printer.
Publisher's quarter green buckram over cream-colored paper boards printed with green and brown flowers. In the original plain dust jacket with lettering on spine and maroon cardboard slipcase. With wood-engraved tondo portrait on title page, numerous vignettes in the text, and four plates by Bruno Bramanti. Quarto-Millenary 229. In mint condition.
This is an elegant edition of Virgil's long poem devoted to the trials and triumphs of agriculture, using Dryden's 1697 text, described by Alexander Pope as "the most noble and spirited translation I know in any language." The poem examines the tensions between man and nature, and the perilous life of the farmer, dependent on the whims of the weather gods. It also offers interesting information on viticulture, animal husbandry, and beekeeping in the first century B.C. Probably the most important (certainly the longest-lived) 20th century Continental private press, Officina Bodoni was founded in 1922 by Hans Mardersteig, who later changed his first name to Giovanni. Like Sweynheym and Pannartz, the first printers in Italy, Mardersteig was born in Germany, but moved to Italy as an adult and set up his hand press in a small village there. Will Carter has called Mardersteig "probably the finest pressman the world has ever seen or is ever likely to see," and it is difficult to overstate the pleasure derived from the precision of the Officina Bodoni books. The dramatic wood engravings are the work of Florentine illustrator Bruno Bramanti (1897-1957), who illustrated a number of books for the press. (ST15816-29)
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PJP Catalog: FinePress.040