Homer, The whole works, translated by Chapman, London, [1616?], calf
The whole works of Homer... in his Iliads, and Odysses. Translated according to the Greeke, by Geo. Chapman. London: [Richard Field and William Jaggard] for Nathaniel Butter, [1616?]
folio (283 x 182mm.), engraved general title-page by William Hole, engraved portrait of Chapman, engraved dedication to the Prince of Wales, engraved title-page to the Odyssey, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces, errata leaf at end of preliminaries, with blank leaves Gg8 and A1 and R8 (but without final blank), contemporary mottled calf, slight damp-staining to head of first few quires, title-page repaired at head, small rust-hole in Aa3 and Gg2, ink stain at head of last few quires, rebacked, corners repaired
First collected edition of Chapman's Homer; Chapman's first translation of a section of the Iliad appeared in 1598 (as Achilles Shield), then the two completed works were issued separately in around 1611 and 1615, with some of the 1598 text revised in the light of Chapman's deeper understanding of Homer. This copy retains the engraved title-page to the Odyssey, which ESTC states is usually cancelled in this edition.
Chapman's translation was in verse, for which he decided to reject a verbatim translation on the grounds of fluency and elegance. He added some moral and ethical changes and observations, so that his narrative would display the characters in a somewhat more chivalric and less pagan manner. His translation exerted considerable influence on English literature, providing for the first time in English a comprehensible and accessible version of Homer's epics for non-Greek or Latin readers. Chapman made extensive use of Jean de Sponde's Latin commentary (1583, itself based on Eustathius) for his translation, as knowledge of Greek was most uncommon at the time.
For Thomas Hobbes's translation from 1676, written for quite a different (political rather than literary) purpose, see lot 147.
Thom. Jackson, early inscription on flyleaf with price 8s; John Jackson, inscription dated 1740 on p.96 of the Odyssey (with some calligraphic doodles); Robert J. Hayhurst, bookplate
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