The Epigoniad. A Poem. In nine books.

  • [Wilkie, William]
  • Edinburgh: Printed by Hamilton, Balfour, & Neill 1757
  • ESTC T140517.

£120

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SKU: 3839 Category: Tags: ,

Description

FIRST EDITION, 8vo, pp. xlii, 289, [1]. Contemporary sprinkled calf, spine divided by raised bands between double gilt rules, red morocco label. A little rubbed and scratched, head of spine chipped.

Notes

One of 750 copies of the first edition of this expansion of the fourth book of the Iliad, by William Wilkie (1721-1772), which earned him the sobriquet 'The Scottish Homer'. (He was also known as 'Potato Wilkie' for his interest in agricultural improvement.) Wilkie was a divisive figure of eccentric appearance and manners, dismissed by the London literary establishment but widely admired in Scotland, where he moved from modest origins to the ministry of Ratho and then the chair of natural philosophy at St Andrews. His friends and contemporaries during his studies at the University of Edinburgh included most of the leading figures of the Scottish Enlightenment - David Hume, John Home, William Robertson, and Adam Smith among them - and he was eulogised by Robert Fergusson, who had been his student, and appeared as a character in a philosophical dialogue by Adam Ferguson. It was Hume's intervention, following vicious reviews of this first edition, that led to a second edition appearing at London in 1759, stripped of some of its Scotticisms and identifying the author on the title-page for the first time.

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