"TRANSPARENT SIMPLICITY AND INTENSE VIVIDNESS": CARY'S TRANSLATION OF THE DIVINE COMEDY
DANTE (CARY, Henry Francis, translator). The Vision; or Hell, Purgatory, And Paradise, of Dante Alighieri. London: Taylor and Hessey, 1819. Three volumes. Octavo, 19th-century three-quarter green morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, marbled boards, endpapers and edges. $4700.
Second edition of Cary's renowned translation of Dante's Divine Comedy—the first in this larger octavo format—very handsomely bound in contemporary morocco-gilt.
Cary's translation was first published in 1814 in a smaller 16mo format. However, "a new edition was published in 1819, and ever since… it has remained the translation which, on Dante's name being mentioned, occurs first to the mind," as Cary has "in great measure preserved his transparent simplicity and intense vividness" (DNB). "The Divine Comedy of Dante could have been written at no other time than at the beginning of the 14th century. It was essentially an age of freedom and daring in thought and speech, which it was natural to express in verse. To this Dante added a deep knowledge of the learning of his time… The audacity of his theme, the success of its treatment, the beauty and majesty of his verse, have ensured that his poem never lost its reputation" (PMM 8). Lowndes, 590. Contemporary owner ink signature dated 1823; later ink inscription.
Only occasional foxing. Very handsome in fine contemporary morocco-gilt.