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    Amyot's Translation of Plutarch's Lives
    "...the Source of Shakespeare's Three Roman Plays"

    [Jacques Amyot and Carolus Clusius, translators]. Plutarch. Les Vies Des Hommes Illustres Grecs et Romains, Comparees L'Une Avec L'Autre Par Plutarque De Chaeronee...medailles diligemment recerchees par tous les plus excellens cabinets du Royaume de France & d'ailleurs. Lausanne: Francois Le Preux, 1574. First edition with these cuts. Large Folio. A8, B-3Z6, and 4. [16], 1336, [43] pages. Printer's device on title page and recto of last leaf. Fifty-two woodcut medallion portraits in elaborate type ornamental borders. Historiated initials. Late nineteenth century gilt paneled vellum with remnants of thong ties, yapp fore-edge, title gilt on leather label; signature of "Lanpledier [?] La Lareange de Parassay" on front free endpaper. Title page soiled with vertical creases, rough fore-edge with small chips, old scored inscriptions, and small holes not affecting text. Marginal paper loss in 2B3, not affecting text. Occasional pen underscoring, scattered foxing and stains, otherwise a very nice copy. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
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    "Jacques Amyot of Auxerre, Grand Almoner of France, and man of letters, born 30 October, 1513; died 6 February, 1593. He studied in Paris at the College de France, where he earned his living by performing menial services for his fellow students. Although naturally slow, his uncommon diligence enabled him to accumulate a large stock of classical and general knowledge. He took his degree of Master of Arts at the age of nineteen. A secretary of State engaged him as tutor to his children and recommended him to Marguerite d'Angoulme the only sister of Francis I. He was appointed Professor of Greek and Latin in the University of Bourges. During the ten years in which he held this position, he translated into French the Greek novel Theagenes and Chariclea and several of Plutarch's Lives. Francis I, to whom these works were dedicated, conferred upon their author the abbey of Bellozane. After the death of Francis I Amyot accompanied the French ambassador to Venice, and later went to Rome. Cardinal de Tournon, whose favour he had won, sent him with a letter from Henry II to the Council of Trent. On his return the king named him tutor to his two younger sons. He now finished the translation of Plutarch's Lives, and afterwards undertook that of Plutarch's "Morals", which he finished in the reign of Charles IX. The latter made him Bishop of Auxerre, Grand Almoner of France, and Curator of the University of Paris. Notwithstanding his success, Amyot did not neglect his studies; he revised all his translations with great care. His translation of Plutarch is the basis of North's English translation, the source of Shakespeare's three Roman plays. During his closing years, France was the prey of civil war. Happening to be at Blois when the Guises were murdered, Amyot was falsely accused of having connived at the assassination. This charge greatly afflicted the aged Bishop. It is the general opinion of scholars that, by his translation of Plutarch, Amyot contributed greatly to the refinement of the French language. His style is always simple, charming, picturesque, and pithy." - Catholic Encyclopedia.

    Adams P1625. Mortimer, Fench 443 (note). Brunet Suppl. 2, col. 259. Schweiger, Greek, 267. Hoffmann III, 212-3 [Vascosan].

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 866

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