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The first and second Volumes of Chronicles [The Third Volume]

... now newlie augmented and continued ... to the yeare 1586. [Colophon:] Finished in Januarie 1587 ... at the expenses of John Harison, George Bishop, Rafe Newberie, Henrie Denham, and Thomas Woodcocke.

Published: London: [by Henry Denham, 1587]

Stock code: 97376

Price: £25,000

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Second, heavily revised and augmented edition of one of the most important English books of the Elizabethan era. The importance of this edition has long been predicated on its value as a Shakespeare source – all the conventional English histories, as well as King Lear, Macbeth, and Cymbeline demonstrably depend upon this specific edition – but modern scholars also recognise the book as a key product of the emergent English nationalism at the end of the 16th century. Published under royal privilege, and produced with extraordinary care by the best printers and editors available, with contributors including Abraham Fleming, Francis Thynne, and John Stow, it was seen as a national project to reflect English prestige, and carefully edited under political control by the Privy Council (hence the so-called “castrated” leaves). The second edition is vastly expanded, and a huge improvement on the first edition – it is the preferred edition of the book. The ODNB describes it as “a secular equivalent to John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments”.

3 volumes bound in 2, folio (358 237 mm). Bound for exhibition c.1890 in full brown crushed goatskin by Zaehnsdorf (signed in gilt at foot of front turn-ins and with exhibition stamp at foot of rear turn-ins); sides with decorative blindstamped panels incorporating Tudor rose emblems, spine s gilt-lettered direct in compartments, others decorated in blind, double raised bands, marbled endpapers, edges gilt on the rough. Black letter, double column; bound without the blanks at the beginning and end of vol. I and the end of vols. II and III, else complete as issued. Of the leaves ordered to be cancelled by the Privy Council (the so-called “castrated” leaves), this copy has all the cancels printed in 1587 to comply with the order, except for vol. III, 6M3–4 (the trial and execution of Edmund Campion and the Duke of Anjou’s progress from London to Antwerp) where the originals survive. Engraved bookplates of Richard Jones, 1707, on titles verso; Money-Coutts family bookplates dated 1889 signed J.D.B., i.e. John Dickson Batten (1860–1932). Bindings rubbed in places, the occasional minor paper repair not affecting the text. An excellent set.

Bibliography: STC 13569.

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