(Geneva: Ex Officina Henrici Stephani, 1557). 172 x 105 mm. (6 3/4 x 4 1/8"). 4 p.l., 17-168 [i.e., 152] pp. (mispaginated but complete). Edited by Henri Estienne.

Simple but pleasing 18th century tan calf, covers with triple gilt fillet border, smooth spine divided into panels by plain and dotted gilt rules, gilt starburst centerpiece, gilt titling, marbled endpapers. Printer's device on title page. Renouard 116:3; Schreiber 142; Dibdin II, 500; Hoffmann I, 287-88; Hoffmann III, 524; USTC 450450. Joints and extremities lightly rubbed, minor offsetting from turn-ins to endpapers and flyleaves, leaves with a touch of browning to head edge, isolated small marginal spots or minor smudges, but still an extremely pleasing copy, clean and fresh internally, in a well-preserved binding.

Rarely seen in the marketplace, this collection of Greek texts printed in the exquisite Estienne "grecs du roi" type includes four parts: the 23 "Characters" of Theophrastus, along with that author's essay on the senses and perception; the pseudo-Aristotle "De Mirabilibus Auscultationibus" ["On Marvellous Things Heard"]; and an essay on springs, rivers, and pools by the first century A.D. Greek philosopher Sotion. In "Characters," Theophrastus (ca. 371 - ca. 287 B.C.) delineates such human foibles as gossiping, grumbling, and boasting, while the text once attributed to Aristotle is a series of anecdotes about inexplicable phenomena in the natural world, a genre of classical literature known as paradoxography. The classical texts are followed by the critical notes of Henri Estienne (1528 or 1531-91), who rivaled Aldus Manutius in combining publishing with scholarship. In discussing this work, Dibdin says, "whatever H. Stephen did is worth consulting." Henri also contributed to the typography used here, the smallest size of the "grecs du roi" cut for his father Robert by Claude Garamond--it is based on the Greek script written by the precocious Henri when he was 10 years old.

Keywords: Estienne