Description

    James Howell's "Political Allegory in Prose
    Dealing with Events between 1603 and 1640"

    J[ames] H[owell]. Dendrologia [Greek transliterated]. Dodona's Grove, or, The Vocall Forrest. By I. H. Esqr. [London]: By T[homas] B[adger] for H[umphrey] Mosely at the Princes Armes in St Paules Church-yard, 1640. First edition of the author's first book, his "maiden fancy." Folio (10.875 x 7.25 inches; 277 x 185 mm.). [12], 32, 39-135, 166-219, [1, blank] pages. Page 122 misnumbered 124. Signatures: [pi]2 A2 a2 B-Z4 Aa4 (V2 signed V3 and Aa3 signed Aa). Signed at end: James Howell. Printer's name from STC. Title within a border of type ornaments and with a large engraved allegorical vignette (imprint engraved together with the vignette); engraved frontispiece of a large oak tree ("Robur Britanicum" / "Arbor honoretur cuius nos umbra tuetur [The tree whose shade protects us]"); and two engraved plates of "Dodona's Grove," each containing six trees. The engravings are signed by Matthaeus Merian, Jr. Frontispiece and title leaf included in pagination and registration.
    Contemporary sprinkled sheep, neatly rebacked. Covers with double blind fillet border; spine with four raised bands and black leather label lettered in gilt; edges stained red. Binding a bit worn, but sturdy. Frontispiece with two-inch tear from the lower edge into the blank lower portion of the plate, not affecting image, with an early repair on the verso; half-inch tear from outer edge to plate mark, also repaired on the verso; tiny closed split in outer margin, and short splits at both upper and lower gutter. Title with a few short tears from the lower edge, entering the lower border and affecting type ornaments (no loss). Short tear to lower edge of first four leaves of text and to lower edge of second plate. A few additional minor marginal chips or tears. Pinhole worming in front flyleaves, and lower margin of frontispiece, title (just touching type ornament, no loss), and A1. Some soiling and browning, heavier in places; a few scattered ink spots and smudges. Stain across page 68, with adhesion, affecting a few letters (no loss), also visible on pages 66, 67, 69, 70, and 71; small adhesion on page 197, concealing a couple of letters in one word, with corresponding abrasion on page 196 and stain on pages 194 and 195; a few additional mostly marginal stains. Several corners lightly creased; small portion of upper corner of page 74 and page 77 darkened where upper corner of pages 75/76 is folded down. Several leaves with small dark areas in the outer margin caused by bleedthrough of the ink marginalia on the opposite side of the leaf. A very good copy, with good impressions of the plates. Early ink underlining and marginalia throughout, providing a key to identity of the characters; early ink Greek lettering and drawing of a man watering a garden on front flyleaf.
    Please visit HA.com/6127 for an extended description of this lot.


    More Information:

    Allibone I, page 904. ESTC S119170. Grolier Club, Wither to Prior, 475. Hunt 234. Lowndes, page 1129 ("A tiresome and silly allegory, written in a most wretchedly bombastic style, in which the author has shadowed forth some of the principal incidents in the history of Europe, 1603-1640"). Pforzheimer 512. STC (2nd ed.) 13872.

    "In 1640 [James Howell (1594?-1666)] began his own literary career with the publication of his 'maiden fancy,' a political allegory in prose dealing with events between 1603 and 1640, entitled 'Dendrologia [Greek translated]: Dodona's Grove, or the Vocall Forest.' A 'key' was added, and with the second and third editions of 1644 and 1645 were issued two political tracts, 'Parables reflecting upon the Times,' and 'England's Teares.' A Latin version was published in 1646; a second part appeared in 1650. When, in the year of its first publication, Howell went on some diplomatic business to France, he carried with him a French translation which he had made of the book, and this, after revision by friends in Paris, was published there before he left in the same year...Howell is one of the earliest Englishmen who made a livelihood out of literature. He wrote with a light pen; and although he shows little power of imagination in his excursions into pure literature, his pamphlets and his occasional verse exhibit exceptional faculty of observation, a lively interest in current affairs...But it is in his 'Epistolae Ho-elianae: Familiar Letters, Domestic and Foreign divided into Sundry Sections, partly Historical, Political, and Philosophical,' that his literary power is displayed at its best. Philosophic reflection, political, social, and domestic anecdote, scientific speculation, are all intermingled with attractive ease in the correspondence which he professes to have addressed to men of all ranks and degrees of intimacy" (Leslie Stephen, in D.N.B.).

     

    "Howell was a royalist and has here made use of botanical terms to proclaim his loyalty to his King. The book is included as a curious reflection of the widespread interest in botanical matters amongst the intelligentsia" (Hunt).

     

    "The allegorical method Howell employed became increasingly popular as a means of evading censorship during the civil war and the Interregnum" (Renée Pigeon, British Prose Writers of the Early Seventeenth Century, Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 151, page 218).

     

    The description of England begins (on page 5):"There is a goodly Forrest, Druina by name, anciently called the White Forrest, wherein the royall Oke rules in chiefe, and with such a latitude of power, that Hee stretcheth forth his branches to the Sea, and his boughes unto the great Rivers. It was ordained by Heaven, that She should be principally protected by Neptune..."

     

    Druina is England, the Oke, the King of England, and Elms, the Nobility; Cardenia is Scotland, and Thistles, the Scots; Ampelona is France, and the Vine is the French King; Elaiana is Spain, and the Olive, the King of Spain; Columbina, the West Indies ("discovered by Christoph. Columbus"); Leonica, the Spanish Netherlands; Orenge, the Prince of Orange; Elatena is Denmark, and the Fir, the King of Denmark; the Cedar is the Emperor of Germany; Petropolis, Rome; etc.



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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
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