London: by Val. Sims for Edward Blount, 1603. First English language edition. First English translation by John Florio. Folio (pages measure 267 x 181 mm): , 664 pp., bound without final blank and with later blank inserted at Qq4. Otherwise complete, with leaf of errata and the rare leaf of commendatory verses by Samuel Daniel. With the correction slip on p. 1 (as called for), Hhh2 mis-signed as Ggg2 and with six incorrect paginations as called for. Second and third books with separate title pages.
In full niger morocco. Covers with a border of double gilt fillet and decorative gilt-tooled corner pieces. Spine gilt-tooled in compartments and gilt board edges. All edges gilt. Overall a fine copy in a handsome 20th century binding.
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, and it's impact 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 skepticism 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)
Grolier, Langland to Wither, 102. Pforzheimer 378. STC 18041. (Item #885)
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