First Complete English Translation of Plato

PBA Galleries

2015-11-02 12:15:40


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Lot 185: Author: Plato. Title: The Works of Plato, viz, his Fifty-Five Dialogues, and Twelve Epistles. Place Published: London. Publisher: Thomas Taylor. Date Published: 1804. Description: 5 volumes. (x) , cxxxiv, 544; (ii) , 657, (2) ; (ii) , 600; (ii) , 614; (ii) , 720 pp. Errata slip inserted at rear of Volume 3. (4to) 29.5x23.5 cm (113/4x9 1/4") period full calf, bordered in blind, modern calf rebacking, spines lettered in gilt. First Edition. Nine of the dialogues were translated by Floyer Sydenham, the remainder by Thomas Taylor. The first complete translation of Plato into English. "It was through Taylor's translations that the Romantic poets had access to Platonism: they are probably one of the sources of Blake's mythology, as well as his repudiation of the natural science of Bacon and Newton.. there is no doubt that Coleridge's acquaintance with Proclus was assisted by Taylor's translation and commentary, though Coleridge's appreciation of Taylor is invariably laced with acid criticism. Taylor's immediate influence in England was short-lived.. His fate in America was very different. R. W. Emerson read Taylor's translations enthusiastically, and Taylor's influence was felt among Emerson's disciples, adepts of 'transcendental philosophy' such as Amos Bronson Alcott, William T. Harris, Thomas M. Johnson, Hiram K. Jones, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, though that influence had waned by the end of the century. Emily Dickinson, who was a friend of Higginson, therefore probably owed her Platonism ultimately to Thomas Taylor." (DNB). Condition: An ex-library copy from the New York Mercantile Library, with stamps on title pages and within. Boards rubbed, one rear board replaced, some chipping to endpapers flyleaves and title pages, a bit of marginal staining; still very good. PBA Galleries' Rare Books & Manuscripts Sunday, 1st November 2015 Estimate: $2500-$3500
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