Item #11203 Virgil’s Æneid Translated By Mr. Pitt. Vol. I [all published]. Publius Virgilius Maro.
Virgil’s Æneid Translated By Mr. Pitt. Vol. I [all published].
Virgil’s Æneid Translated By Mr. Pitt. Vol. I [all published].

Virgil’s Æneid Translated By Mr. Pitt. Vol. I [all published].

London, for A. Bettesworth et al. 1736.

8vo (198 x 200 mm.). [iii]-viii, [3] 4-230p.

Contemporary gilt mottled calf (worn, hinges cracked), geometric outer border roll with lilies, elongated partly pointillé central medallion of blooms, foliage, etc, gilt spine (label gone), all edges gilt, green silk marker.

Fugitive witness to the medial stage of what proved to be a three-phase a thirteen-year publishing project. In 1728, Christopher Pitt (1699-1748), a reclusive Oxford scholar, published an octavo Essay on Virgil’s Æneid — a new translation of Book I, which concluded with critical notes (ESTC T139432). By 1736 he had finished his rendering of Books II, III, and IV and secured the patronage, as dedicatee, of the great collector, Frederick, Prince of Wales (1707-51). Pitt then commissioned the printing of Books II to IV to match the unsold 1728 sheets of Book I. This required creating a new title-page (on which he claimed the whole of the Æneid as his objective), and reprinting the first two and last two pages of Book I, to remove references to the Essay and its “Notes”. He did not, however, pursue the octavo format any further than the present volume. By 1740, Pitt had completed his work on all twelve Books, and his full translation appeared in a more imposing two-volume quarto, with the same dedicatee and nearly identical dedication.
            I have located two other copies of the present First Edition — at the Bodleian (?lacking title, with a portrait of Pitt) and at the University of Illinois (in NUC and cited in ESTC, but not in their OPAC). Internally fresh, 18th-century bookplate of William Long, Esq.
¶Kallendorf, A Bibliography of the Early Printed Editions of Virgil 1469-1850 EA1736.2; Foxon, English Verse 1701-1750 P411; ESTC N65898; see Thackeray’s “Christopher Pitt, Joseph Warton, and Virgil” in The Review of English Studies 43 (1992) 329-46 and Schweiger’s Handbuch der classischen Bibliographie. Lateinische Schriftsteller II: 1214

Item #11203

Price: $2,700.00

Status: On Hold