“A MOST EXQUISITE HISTORY”: CAMDEN’S MAJOR HISTORY OF ELIZABETH I, 1635
(ELIZABETH I) CAMDEN, William. Annals, or, the Historie of The Most Renowned and Victorious Princesse Elizabeth, Late Queen of England. Containing all the Important and Remarkable Passages of State both at Home, and Abroad, during her Long and Prosperous Reigne. London: Printed by Thomas Harper, for Benjamin Fisher, 1635. Small folio in sixes (7 by 11 inches), 18th-century full tree calf, gilt-decorated spine, red and green morocco spine labels, marbled endpapers. $1800.
Third edition in English, revised, of Camden’s seminal history of Elizabeth I, “among the best historical productions which have yet been composed by an Englishman” (Hume). Handsomely bound.
This "most exquisite history" by the greatest Renaissance historian of England (Lowndes, 358), granted William Camden full "claim to be considered as the founder, not merely of antiquarian studies, but also of the study of modern history" (PMM 101). Camden's "friend and patron, Lord Burleigh, had in 1597, a year before his death, urged Camden to compile a history of the reign of Elizabeth. His lordship had carefully noted the events and actors of the time, and his information and literary records were of invaluable assistance to the historian" (DNB). In his History of England, Hume notes that this work "is written with simplicity of expression, very rare in that age, and with a regard to truth. It would not, perhaps, be too much to affirm that it is among the best historical productions which have yet been composed by any Englishman." "With William Camden the chronicle reached its zenith" (Kunitz & Haycraft, 82). Originally published in Latin as Annales Rerum Anglicarum, et Hibernicarum Regnante Elizabetha in two parts (part I in London, 1615 and part II in Leiden in 1625 and in London, 1627). Camden requested that part II be published posthumously. The first English translation of part I appeared in 1625 and of part II in 1629. Without engraved frontispiece. STC 4501.
Text clean. Expert restoration to very handsome tree calf-gilt binding.