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WALTON, Izaak.

The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative Man's Recreation,

Being a Discourse of Fish and Fishing, Not unworthy the perusal of most Anglers.

London: By T. Maxey for Rich. Marriot, 1653 Stock Code: 80090
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The most famous work in angling literature

First edition. "A first Walton confers distinction upon its owner" (Westwood & Satchell). There are various typesetting errors in the first edition, although corrected and uncorrected sheets seem to have been issued indiscriminately, with little significance to the priority of issue. In the present copy "contention" (a mistake for "contentment") is uncorrected on page 245; the bass voice of Henry Lawes' "Angler's Song" (p. 217) is printed upside down, the idea being for two singers to stand opposite each other sharing the score (this idea is abandoned in other copies). The second edition was heavily revised and expanded by more than one third, "which gives to the first edition an importance other than that due its priority" (Pforzheimer).

"The Compleat Angler was conceived as dialogue between men travelling on foot who each represented a different recreation. In the first edition there were two, Piscator (fisherman) and Viator (traveller) By this means the art of fishing was introduced, defended, and expounded: its strong precedent in the fishermen apostles of the New Testament was established, the detail of baiting for, catching, and cooking different kinds of fish was catalogued, and the whole was accompanied by aphorisms which would show the reader what it might mean to live well The work has commanded huge popularity: it has been reprinted almost as many times as A Pilgrim's Progress" (ODNB).

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Octavo (136 x 85 mm), without final blank R4. Early 19th-century half calf, spine gilt-lettered direct, divided in compartments by decorative rolls with gilt roundels between, marbled sides, sprinkled edges. Early 20th-century morocco backed slipcase and chemise by James Macdonald Ltd, New York.


Engraved title vignette, 6 engraved vignettes of fish, 2 pages of music.


Blank flyleaf inscribed "Robert H. Meyricke from his Mother Mary Meyricke Octr. 28th 1882"; book label to front pastedown. Short tear without loss in I7, a few headlines cut close and very rarely shaving a letter (M3), fore-margin of the leaf of music at page 216 shaved with slight loss, light waterstains affecting a few leaves, overall a very good, honest copy of a work that is often found defective or made-up.


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