"THE FIRST PROSE PASTORAL ROMANCE IN ENGLISH"
SIDNEY, Sir Philip. Arcadia, Moderniz'd by Mrs. Stanley. London, 1725. Folio, modern full dark blue morocco, borders and spine panels elaborately gilt-decorated with repeating crown motif, red morocco spine label. $1500.
1725 large paper folio edition of Sidney's Arcadia, "undoubtedly one of the greatest literary productions of pre-Shakespearian England," edited by Mrs. Stanley.
Arcadia, first published in 1590, was "the first prose pastoral romance in English," written, according to Disraeli, in "the imperishable diction of Shakespeare, before Shakespeare wrote" (Ruoff, 392; Allibone, 2099). Mrs. Stanley, in her preface, writes, "I have been very careful not even in the minutest Point to vary from his Tract, either in the Thoughts or in the Story, and have followed him closely… it being my Opinion, that Sir Philip Sidney alone was capable of finishing what Sir Philip Sidney began…" With handsome engraved head and tailpieces, and woodcut initials.
Title page restored at inner hinge; generally quite clean and crisp. A lovely, wide-margined copy, beautifully bound.