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Fine Editions Ltd

Fine Editions Ltd
Item #BB0887 The Shepherd's Week. In Six Pastorals [Provenance]. John GAY.
The Shepherd's Week. In Six Pastorals [Provenance]
The Shepherd's Week. In Six Pastorals [Provenance]

The Shepherd's Week. In Six Pastorals [Provenance]

London: Jacob Tonson, 1721. Third Edition. Small, slim 8vo: [16],60,[4]pp, with frontispiece, six full-page copper-engraved plates, woodcut head- and tail pieces. Later polished calf, flat spine (rebacked) lettered in gilt, speckled boards framed with French fillet, gilt turn-ins, all edges gilt, marbled end papers (end papers and fly leaves renewed). An excellent copy, several engravings and a few pages with very light marginal stains, else clean and bright. Provenance: bookplate of the collector Horace Noble Pym (1844-1896) to front paste-down, with his red ink library stamp to front fly-leaf. Foxon G74. Rothschild 922 (calling this the fourth edition). Item #BB0887

Third edition (originally published 1714). In April 1713, a series of articles in The Guardian launched a debate concerning the nature of pastoral poetry, by praising the verse of Ambrose Philips at the expense of Alexander Pope, who had claimed the mantle of first pastoral writer of his age and the true English Theocritus. Gay's contribution to this literary skirmish, intended to ridicule Philips, was this mock pastoral, a series of six poems modeled on Virgil's Eclogues, which in turn had been influenced by the idylls of Theocritus. The poems are composed in a pseudo-archaic dialect "explained"` in a glossary at the foot of each page. "These glosses are masterpieces of false learning . . . all deliberately chosen to draw attention to the false simplicity of Philips's verses. Yet amid all this Gay inserts some genuinely lyrical moments, before bathetically undermining them, reminding us of the rhythmic beauty of the country, quite separate from the town and its ambitions." (ODNB).

Price: $365.00

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