The Comedies of Aristophanes. By T. Mitchell, A.M.

  • Aristophanes
  • London: John Murray 1820


SKU: 3714 Category: Tags: , ,


FIRST EDITION, 2 vols., 8vo, pp. [iii]-clx, 294; vii, [i], 318. Half-title of vol. 1 discarded. Slightly later ‘Spanish-calf’-style morocco, boards patterned in green and black and bordered with a triple gilt rule, spines divided by raised bands, double red morocco labels, other compartments elaborately gilt, edges gilt. Somewhat spotted and foxed in places. Spines lightly faded, extremities a touch rubbed, small scrape to front board of vol. 1 and its lower corner lightly discoloured. Modern bookplate to front pastedown.


A finely-bound copy of the first edition of these translations - three of them the plays' first appearances in English - from Aristophanes by Thomas Mitchell (1783-1845), a talented classical scholar whose progress was impeded by his refusal to join the church. Despite the inclusive title Mitchell only translated four of the eleven surviving plays - The Acharnians, Knights, Clouds, and Wasps - though of these only the Clouds had previously appeared in English (along with Plutus, and the Frogs; the first complete translation of Aristophanes into English did not appear until 1837). 'Mitchell was the first English translator to do justice to Aristophanes' metrical variety, and his editions, articles, and translations did much to spread interest in the author among later generations of scholars' (ODNB); the translations were also praised by Byron.

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