London: Melch. Bradwood for Edward Blount and William Barret, 1613. Second edition. Second edition of Florio's great translation which was first published in 1603. Small folio (11 3/8 x 7 1/4 inches; 290 x 185 mm), collating: , 630, [2, blank] pp. With engraved portrait of Florio on leaf A6v, which was not included in the first English edition. With historiated initials and engraved head-and-tail pieces. The second and third books have separate dated title pages but pagination is continuous. This second edition replaces the original dedications of the three books to various Court ladies with a dedication and a new sonnet in Italian to the Queen, Anne of Denmark, who had appointed Florio as her reader in Italian and private secretary. Also for the first time in this edition is the anonymous sonnet Concerning the Honor of Bookes, which was once attributed to Shakespeare but is more probably by Samuel Daniel.
Full contemporary polished calf. Boards and spine ruled in gilt. Board edges tooled in gilt. All edges speckled red. Remnants of green silk ties. Outer hinges professionally repaired. No front or rear pastedowns. Previous owner's bookplates. Contemporary ink notes on front free endpaper. Some minor toning to title-page, and some occasional light dampstaining. Small hole to leaf Xx3, and light scrape to Ddd3, both with minor loss of text. Overall a very good copy.
This is considered the most important Elizabethan translation of any contemporary text. Its influence on English writers and philosophers of the time, including Shakespeare, Bacon, Milton, Hobbes and Locke, can hardly be overestimated. "Montaigne startles the common reader at each fresh encounter, if only because he is unlike any preconception we bring him. He can be interpreted as skeptic, humanist, Catholic, Stoic, even Epicurean" (Bloom, The Western Canon , 147-151)
"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…He finds a place in the present canon, however, chiefly for his consummate representation of the enlightened scepticism of the sixteenth century, to which Bacon, Descartes, and Newton were to provide the answers in the next" (Printing and the Mind of Man 95).
"The unfolding of a mind of genius in dialogue with itself and with the world, a Renaissance humanist speaking to all humanity" (Hollier, A New History of French Literature , 250).
Grolier, Langland to Wither, 102. Pforzheimer 378 (Florio, 1st edition). STC 18042. ESTC S111840 (Item #1790)