FINE SHAKESPEARE HEAD PRESS EDITION OF CAXTON'S TRANSLATION OF OVID'S METAMORPHOSES, BOOKS X-XV, ONE OF ONLY 375, HANDSOMELY BOUND
(CAXTON, William, translator) OVID. Ovyde Hys Booke of Methamorphose Books X-XV. Translated by William Caxton, Newly printed from the Manuscript in the Pepysian Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, Printed at the Shakespeare Head Press Stratford-upon-Avon, 1924. Folio (8 by 12 inches), contemporary full blue crushed morocco gilt, raised bands, watered silk endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut. $1800.
Shakespeare Head Press limited edition of William Caxton's translation of Books X-XV of Ovid's Metamorphoses—all extant at the time of this publication—number 147 of only 375 printed on handmade paper, handsomely bound in full morocco by the Riverside Press.
No classical author exerted greater influence on the literature of the late 16th and early 17th centuries than Ovid. Shakespeare, Marlowe, Drayton, Spenser, and Chapman were all deeply indebted to Ovid's "collection of legends of transformations… extending from chaos to the apotheosis of Caesar" (Harper's, 1151). Caxton's handwritten and illuminated manuscript translation of Ovid's classic was separated into two halves at some point. These halves came to be known as the Pepys and the Phillipps manuscripts. They were only reunited in the 1960's when the Phillipps manuscript (Books I-IX) was discovered and redeemed to Magdalene College; Pepys had left his portion (Books X-XV, as printed here) to the College in his will, dated 1703. Caxton is, of course, the first to introduce the printing press into England, and he translated into English a number of the books that he published. No printed copy of Ovid's Metamorphoses has survived, however. An additional three copies were printed on vellum.
Minor foxing to flyleaves (blank) only, text clean and fresh; minor toning to spine, a bit of minuscule rubbing to front joint. A handsomely bound copy in excellent condition.