"INSTRUCTIVE, FULL OF ANECDOTE AND INTEREST": JORTIN'S LIFE OF ERASMUS, 1758-60 FIRST EDITION, WITH LOVELY MEZZOTINT PORTRAIT BY HOLBEIN
(ERASMUS) [JORTIN, John]. The Life of Erasmus. London: J. Whiston and B. White, 1758-60. Two volumes. Quarto, contemporary marbled boards rebacked in tan morocco, raised bands, red and olive morocco spine labels. $3500.
First edition, wide-margined copy, of Jortin's life of Erasmus, with lovely mezzotint frontispiece portrait of Erasmus by Holbein and six copper-engraved plates of facsimile autographs of Erasmus and his contemporaries.
John Jortin (1698-1770) was an ecclesiastical historian, musician, and literary critic. "Written in the form of annals, showing where Erasmus was, and what he did, and what befell him from year to year. Large portions [of the annals] consist of extracts from his letters, interspersed with explanatory and critical remarks. The memoir… is followed by a copious index, and by an extended review of Erasmus' characters and works… instructive, full of anecdote and interest, touching upon the characters and works of the friends and correspondents of Erasmus, who were the most distinguished men of his age" (Park & Taylor, Bibliotheca Sacra and Biblical Repository, 106). "Jortin's writings enjoyed a considerable afterlife in the closing decades of the 18th century before falling into undeserved obscurity in the mid-19th century; they offer an attractive insight into the workings of the literary and religious culture of the 18th century" (ODNB).
Text and plates generally clean, contemporary boards with expected light rubbing, attractively rebacked. A beautiful copy in fine condition.