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The Nineteen Tragedies and Fragments.

Translated by Michael Wodhull.

London: Printed by John Nichols: and Sold by Thomas Payne and Son, 1782 Stock Code: 137652
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"Accurate and austere" in a fine period binding

First Wodhull edition, the first in English of all the extant writings of Euripides: "although Wodhull advertised his version in February 1774, and thought to complete it within a year, it was only in 1782 that, prompted by the appearance of two rival partial translations, he overcame his fastidiousness and published The Nineteen Tragedies and Fragments of Euripides in four volumes. A new edition appeared in three volumes in 1809. Wodhull's translation, accurate and austere, was for many years the standard one, and several of his versions of the plays were reprinted in the nineteenth century" (ODNB).

Michael Wodhull (1740-1816) was one of the most knowledgeable and discerning bibliophiles of his day. "A tall and striking man, he was noted in the auction rooms for his elegant military bearing, courteous demeanour, and decisive bidding. Particularly well informed on the subject of French printing of the sixteenth century, he was regarded by the bookseller Thomas Payne, who published several of his works, as 'Bibliographorum longè doctissimus'" (ibid.).

The edition is scarce in commerce, with only one copy listed in auction records, selling for 1,092 in 1999. This copy is presented in a particularly fine period binding, notable for the presence in volume IV of the silver-gilt bullion tassle to the page marker, a remarkable survival.

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4 vols., octavo (215 x 130 mm). Contemporary tree calf, smooth spines divided by gilt Greek key and rope-twist rolls, compartments attractively and crisply gilt tooled with central foliate motifs and scrolling foliate panels, red morocco twin labels decorated with rope-twist rolls, sides with gilt Greek key borders, gilt milled edge roll, gilt star-and-quatrefoil roll to turn-ins, Antique Spot pattern marbled endpapers, gilt edges.


Contemporary ownership inscription of "Hurd" at head of vol. I title. Slight chip to headband of vol. II, single wormhole at foot of rear joint of vol. III. touch of wear to corners. A lovely set.


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