Essays of Montaigne

MONTAIGNE   |   Charles COTTON

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Item#: 126281 price:$5,500.00

Essays of Montaigne
Essays of Montaigne

"HOW FAR HIS INFLUENCE HAS EXTENDED IS INCALCULABLE": FIRST EDITION OF CHARLES COTTON'S ESTEEMED TRANSLATION OF MONTAIGNE'S ESSAYS, 1685-86

MONTAIGNE. Essays of Michael Seigneur de Montaigne. In Three Books. With Marginal Notes and Quotations of the Cited Authors. And an Account of the Author's Life. Now Rendered into English by Charles Cotton. London: T. Basset… and M. Gilliflower and W. Hensman, 1685-86. Three volumes. Octavo, contemporary full speckled calf rebacked in calf-gilt, red morocco spine labels, raised bands. $5500.

First edition of Cotton's highly regarded English translation of Montaigne's essays, considered "among the masterpieces of translation" (DNB), with frontispiece portrait, in contemporary calf boards.

"Montaigne devised the essay form in which to express his personal convictions and private meditations, a form in which he can hardly be said to have been anticipated. The most elaborate essay, the 'Apologie de Raimond Sebonde,' is second to no other modern writing in attacking fanaticism and pleading for tolerance. He finds a place in the present canon, however, chiefly for his consummate representation of the enlightened skepticism of the 16th century, to which Bacon, Descartes, and Newton were to provide the answers in the next" (PMM 95). "Though regarded with suspicion by the Church and placed on the Index (1676), his work won the admiration of his own and succeeding generations… it was quoted by Shakespeare (in The Tempest) and… inspired the English essay, as developed by Bacon, Cowley, Temple, and Dryden" (Reid, 422). "How far his influence has extended is incalculable" (Harris, 105). "Cotton's Montaigne ranks among the masterpieces of translation" (DNB). "The final work Cotton saw through the press was one of his most admired, his translation of Montaigne's Essays (three volumes, 1685-6), which immediately supplanted that by John Florio (1603) and was still being reprinted well into the 20th century. In Montaigne, Cotton found a congenial mind and character, which he rendered in relaxed and conversational prose" (ODNB). First translated into English in 1603. Old dealer description tipped to front pastedown of Volume I.

Text generally clean, expert restoration to board edges. A nicely refurbished set of this scarce first English edition.

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