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MONTAIGNE, Michel de.

The Essayes Or Morall, Politike and Millitarie Discourses

First written by him in French. And now done into English By... John Florio.

London: Printed by Val[entine] Sims for Edward Blount, 1603 Stock Code: 135666
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One of the great books of the Elizabethan era

First edition in English of the Essais of Montaigne, one of the great books of the Elizabethan era and the crowning achievement of its translator John Florio. "His extraordinary skill in the use of alliteration, his ability to embroider and amplify the French original through the addition of English synonyms, his sense of rhythm, his art of turning French proverbs and expressions into idiomatic English equivalents, and his experimentation with new-formed English words (such as 'conscientious', 'endeare', 'efface', 'facilitate') made his Montaigne one of the great translations of the Elizabethan age. The work was a source of inspiration for such as Ben Jonson, Sir Walter Ralegh, John Webster, and Shakespeare. Despite the fact that, as a translation, it was occasionally inaccurate, 'Florio's Montaigne' was reprinted both in his lifetime and over subsequent centuries" (ODNB).

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Folio (276 x 188 mm). Contemporary blind-panelled calf, neatly rebacked, red morocco spine label and dated in gilt at foot. Housed in a blue morocco-grain cloth folding case, spine lettered in gilt.


Books 2 and 3 with separate dated title pages but continuous register; verses by Daniel and errata (¶1,2: "these 2 leaves are frequently lacking" - ESTC); complete with blank 2Q4 and 2 final errata leaves 3K5,6. Woodcut vignettes of altars on verso of fir


A few very small pen trials on title, single marginal note on A2r, ownership inscription dated 1689 at foot of ¶2v. Small paper restoration to title in gutter and to final errata leaves at head and tail, some light dampstaining at head towards end of Book 3 and very occasionally elsewhere, the occasional minor mark, spot, spill-burn, etc. but the paper generally clean and strong, overall a very good copy.


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