Plutarch’s Lives, in Eight Volumes: Translated from the Greek. With notes, explanatory and critical, from Dacier and others. To which is prefixed the Life of Plutarch, written by Dryden.

  • Plutarch
  • London: Printed for J. and F. Rivington [and 9 others] 1770


SKU: 2598 Category: Tags: , ,


8 vols., 12mo, pp. vii, [i], lxxix, [i], 302+ frontispiece; 389, [1]; [iv], 364; [iv], 407, [1]; [ii], 339, [1]; [iv], 372; [iv], 376; [iv], 148, [300]. Engraved portrait medallions within pagination (or woodcut oval empty frames in some cases). Final leaf of vol. 5 (a singleton) bound back-to-front. Contemporary biscuit calf, spines divided by raised bands, red morocco labels in second compartments, gilt numbered direct in third, edges yellow. Some marginal staining in vol. 1, occasional spotting elsewhere, one leaf in vol. 5 with an early repair to a horizontal tear across one leaf. Binding the merest touch rubbed at extremities, a small patch of surface nibbling to rear board of vol 1, overall very attractively preserved. Ownership inscription of Sarah Moore to title-pages of vols. 1-5, small monogram stamp (RJH?) to verso of title-page of vol. 1.


A beautifully-preserved copy of a scarce printing of the classic translation of Plutarch's Lives, based on the original Greek (unlike North's earlier version) by 'several hands' under Dryden's editorship, among them Thomas Creech, Paul Rycaut, and Richard Duke, and first published in the 1680s. Some revision was made after Dacier's 1690s French edition, and the text remained the standard for almost a century. It was the new translation by the Langhorne brothers which knocked it from its perch - the very same year that this edition began publication, perhaps as an attempt by the conger to undercut the new competition. It is rather rarer than the first Langhorne edition: ESTC locates just 4 copies in the UK (Canterbury Cathedral, Longleat House, NLW, and Leeds), plus one each in Ireland and Australia, two in Canada, and 5 in the USA.

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