Sale 15BP02 | Lot 459

MACHIAVELLI, NICCOLO [DACRES, EDWARD-trans.] Nicholas Machiavels Prince. Also, the life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca. And the ...

Catalogue: Rare Books, Autographs & Photographs
MACHIAVELLI, NICCOLO [DACRES, EDWARD-trans.] Nicholas Machiavels Prince. Also, the life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca. And the ...

Lot Details

Lot 459
MACHIAVELLI, NICCOLO [DACRES, EDWARD-trans.] Nicholas Machiavels Prince. Also, the life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca. And the ...
in English. [BOUND WITH] Romulus and Tarquin, written in Italian by the Marques Virgilio Malvezzi. And now taught English by Henry Earle of Monmouth. London: printed for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at his shop at the Princes Armes in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1648. Third edition. Two volumes bound as one, The Prince the second work in the volume, in contemporary or near-contemporary mottled calf, spine in five compartments, lettered in red morocco in the second, the other compartments simply gilt, all edges marbled. 5 1/2 x 3 inches (14 x 7.5 cm); [1] ff. blank, [18], 222 pp. [1] ff. blank, the first printed leaf an engraved title; The Prince [12], 305, [7] pp., collating A^(6) B-O^(12). Binding discreetly refurbished but presents well, internally a very clean, fresh copy, a very few of the typographical rules at the fore-edge of the Machiavelli partially trimmed.
FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH of Machiavelli's enormously influential 1532 study of the nature of effective political leadership, and a foundational work of political theory. The first use of the word "Machiavellian" cited by the Oxford English Dictionary is 1568, and the word was used frequently thereafter, so the influence of the work in England was widespread and significant. Shakespeare certainly read the book (he cites "murderous Machiavel" in Henry VI, part 3), likely in one of the many manuscript translations that circulated; there are four such 16th century versions known.
The book was put on the Catholic Church's Index of prohibited books in 1559, and the ecclesiastical authorities in England also seem to have banned it, for as Margaret Bald in Literature Suppressed on Political Grounds remarks "The English translation was published in 1640 when episcopal censorship broke down." This was a brief window of opportunity; it was again listed in 1643 for a further period. Edward Dacres justified his translation with the words "This book carryes its poyson and malice in it; yet mee thinks the judicious peruser may honestly make use of it in the actions of his life, with advantage." It is worth noting that Machiavelli was favored reading for rulers as diverse as Louis XIV and Napoleon. The Life of Castruccio Castracani deals in somewhat similar terms with near contemporary Italians who had perpetrated criminal deeds for reasons of political expediency, and was probably a source for Mary Shelley's novel Valperga: or, the Life ... of Castruccio, Prince of Lucca. Bertelli & Innocenti Bibliografia Machiavelliana XVII/38; Gerber III, p. 104, no. 2; PMM 63; STC 17168.


Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000
Sold for $43,750 (includes buyer's premium)

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Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000
Sold for $43,750 (includes buyer's premium)

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Rare Books, Autographs & Photographs

Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 10am EST
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