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(DACIER, Anne Lefèvre, trans.) HOMER.

L'Iliade d'Homere...

traduite en françois, avec des remarques par Madame Dacier.

Availability: In stock

Published: Paris Rigaud, 1711

Stock Code: 128992

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


First Dacier edition, a handsomely bound set of this influential work by the first female translator of Homer. This, her celebrated translation into French of the Iliad, is considered her "crowning achievement" (Folger, p. 34) alongside her equally successful translation of the Odyssey (1716). The three volumes also comprise a 45-page life of Homer, copious explanatory notes, and extended prefaces in response to Homer's critics; as a whole, it cemented her place as arguably the foremost classical scholar of her day.
Only daughter of the noted Hellenist Tanneguy Lefèvre, Anne Dacier (c.1654-1720) began translating classical works from an early age, beginning with Callimachus and progressing to versions of the poems of Anacreon and Sappho. In 1683 she married her father's protégé André Dacier, who was a member of the French Academy and who also produced a number of translations, though acknowledged to be of inferior quality to his wife's works. She was a staunch champion of Homer in the Ancients and Moderns debate, in which she defended his works against what she saw as the contemporary decline in standards of taste. Despite her literary feuds with fellow literary figures such as Antoine Houdar de la Motte and Thémiseul de Saint-Hyacinthe, and her differences in particular with Alexander Pope, with whom she fundamentally disagreed on how best to approach translating Homer, she was held in extremely high regard by her contemporaries and even those with whom she fell out with "demonstrably regarded her as the eminent authority she deserved to be" (Weinbrot, p. 1). Her professional accomplishments and fine translations were referred to whenever an argument was made in favour of scholarly female education, and she is one of the "distinguished women" featured in Mary Hay's Female Biography (1803).
There has been considerable confusion regarding the dating of Dacier's translations, partly due to contemporary misattributions. Her Iliad, though often cited as first appearing in 1699, was in fact first published in 1711 (as confirmed by Julie Candler Hayes, the Folger Collective, and others). A second edition appeared in 1719, and "after her no one in France dared to translate Homer for half a century" (Grafton & others, p. 249), her translations remaining authoritative well into the early 20th century.

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3 volumes, duodecimo (160 x 91 mm). Contemporary mottled calf, flat spine lettered and tooled in gilt with elaborate floriate and scrollwork decoration, marbled endpapers and edges.


Engraved frontispiece to vol. 1 depicting the war council outside Troy and 1 engraved plate depicting Homer facing p. 39, engraved head- and tailpieces, initials.


Contemporary ownership inscription, "Ce livre apparitien[t] a firmin Barré" to initial blank of vol. 3, later inscription, "Dacier rue Traversière" to vol. 1 rear free endpaper recto. Heads of spines professionally repaired, vol. 1 title page and sig. a2 partly loose at gutter but firm, one short tear to fore edge of vol. 1 sig. G4, a tiny wormhole to the lower edge of vol. 3 book block, overall the contents evenly toned with the occasional spot or ink mark, else in very good condition.


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