“ALL THE EXCELLENCIES THAT NARRATION CAN ADMIT” (SAMUEL JOHNSON): KNOLLES’ ILLUSTRATED GENERALL HISTORIE OF THE TURKES, 1638
(TURKEY) KNOLLES, Richard. The Generall Historie of the Turkes, from the First Beginning of that Nation to the Rising of the Othoman Familie… Together with the Lives and Conquests of the Othoman Kings and Emperours. (London): Adam Islip, 1638. Thick folio (9 by 14 inches), period-style full brown speckled calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, marbled endpapers. $11,000.
Enlarged fifth edition of Knolles’ great history, with 32 engraved medallion portraits of the sultans and other historical figures, and a battle scene, engraved title page, and woodcut head- and tailpieces and initials throughout. An excellent copy in quite handsome period-style calf-gilt.
"The recent victories of Mahomet III over the Christians must have rendered the Turkish question of vital interest to the security of Europe, and the struggle remained in the balance till the end of the 17th century" (Hind). First published in 1603, Knolles' work earned the praise of Samuel Johnson: "None of our writers can, in my opinion, justly contest the superiority of Knolles, who, in his History of the Turks, has displayed all the excellencies that narration can admit. His style… is pure, nervous, elevated, and clear" (Rambler, No. 122). "Compiled from a range of Byzantine and western histories, travelers' reports and letters, together with material from Leunclavius' recent Latin translation of a late 15th-century Ottoman chronicle, Knolles' was the first major work on the subject to appear in English, and was quickly recognized as a masterpiece of narrative synthesis… Subsequent editions in 1621, 1631, and 1638 included continuations by other writers… Knolles' literary style was admired by such writers as Johnson and Byron, and the work's reputation as an engrossing account survived well into the 19th century" (ODNB). First published in 1603. The fine medallion portraits of the Turkish kings, emperors and sultans together with their (mostly) Christian adversaries, were adapted from Jean Jacques Boissard's Vitae et Icones Sultanorum (1596) by Lawrence Johnson. Complete, with occasional mispaginations, as issued. With side notes and index. Blackmer 920. STC 15055.
Text generally quite clean; period-style calf-gilt handsome and fine. An exceptional copy.