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TASSO, Torquato.

Godfrey of Bulloigne, or Jerusalem Delivered.

Translated by Edward Fairefax [sic].

London: Printed by Bensley and Son for R. Triphook, 1817 Stock Code: 121168
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First edition thus, one of 50 large paper copies. A highly appealing edition printed by the excellent Thomas Bensley and with delightful wood-engravings, perhaps by Bewick's pupil Henry White, after designs by John Thurston. Fairfax's translation was originally published in 1600; the first English translation of Tasso's poetical account of the first crusade being Richard Carew's, published in 1594. This edition includes Fairfax's fourth eclogue and Carew's translation of the fourth canto. "Fairfax's command of the telling phrase and wide-ranging and aptly used scholarship established his reputation. There were several seventeenth-century reprints, that of 1624 being at the order of James I. It is supposed to have been a solace to Charles I during his time in prison and the poem strongly influenced the development of English poetry from Webster to Dryden" (ODNB).

The editor was the literary scholar and "tenacious autodidact" Samuel Weller Singer (1783-1858), who briefly set himself up as a bookseller in St James's Street, where he made the acquaintance of some of the leading bibliophiles of the day, including Richard Heber, Richard Grenville, and Francis Douce, the latter becoming a lifelong friend. Around 1815 he acted as literary editor for the publisher of the present work, Robert Triphook. He was "remembered by contemporaries as both amiable and modest... and as an unassuming, yet shrewd and incisive student of Elizabethan literature" (ODNB).

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2 volumes, octavo (238 x 143 mm). Contemporary pale brown morocco, spines elaborately and crisply gilt tooled, brown labels, gilt French fillet border to covers with corner rosettes, pretty gilt roll to turn-ins, Spanish pattern marbled endpapers, gilt edges.


Engraved portrait frontispiece of Tasso by Worthington printed on india paper, wood-engraved title vignettes and head- and tailpieces,


Slight wear to extremities, occasional light foxing; an excellent set.


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