THE ESSAYES; Or, Morall, Politike, and Militarie Discourses of Lord Michael de Montaigne, Knight of the noble Order of Saint Michael, and one of the Gentlemen in Ordinary of the French King's Chamber. The Third Edition. Whereunto is now newly added an Index of the principall matters and personages mentioned in this Booke.

Third English edition. Small folio. pp. [14], 631, [13]. Three parts in one. Contemporary full speckled calf with five raised bands to the spine, ruled in gilt and with gilt morocco title label. Additional engraved architectural title page by Martin Droeshout; the "To the beholder of this title" leaf bound in opposite. Illustrated with woodcut headpieces and capitals throughout. Early ownership inscription to the head of the printed title page: "Ex Libris Johannis Gregory Anno Domini 1704". A very good copy, the binding square, firm and secure with a little wear to the joints (including a some slight cracking to the upper joint), light rubbing and marking to the boards and some slight loss to the leather of the corners of the upper board. The contents with creasing to the first leaf ("To the beholder") and to the top corner of the two title pages, a very minor water mark to the bottom corner of a few dozen pages, slight loss to the blank corner of pp.59-60 and to the lower margin of pp.305-06 and 379-80 (likely original paper flaws), and the slightest trace of worm to the blank corner of pp.471-82 are otherwise in very good order and clean throughout. A handsome copy of this attractive edition.

An early English edition of the pre-eminent French Renaissance philosopher Michel de Montaigne's Essays, one of the most significant books of the Elizabethan era. Florio's was the first translation of Montaigne's Essays into English, and the work formed his crowning achievement. Indeed, it still remains a highly regarded rendition: "His extraordinary skill in the use of alliteration, his ability to embroider and amplify the French original through the addition of English synonyms, his sense of rhythm, his art of turning French proverbs and expressions into idiomatic English equivalents, and his experimentation with new-formed English words (such as 'conscientious', 'endeare', 'efface', 'facilitate') made his Montaigne one of the great translations of the Elizabethan age. The work was a source of inspiration for such as Ben Jonson, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Webster, and Shakespeare." (ODNB). Notably, Florio's translation was used as a source book by Shakespeare for The Tempest, which contains a number of prominent echoes (particularly of Montaigne's essay 'Of the Caniballes'), as well as for Hamlet and other plays. Often considered to be the father of the modern essay, Montaigne produced some of the most influential examples of the essay form ever written. Indeed, his deft, insightful prose was read avidly by many of the greatest minds of the subsequent centuries - from Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Voltaire to Charles Darwin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud and Virginia Woolf. The first English edition by Florio was published in 1603 and the second in 1613. This third edition, dedicated to James I's consort, Queen Anne of Denmark, was the first to contain the highly useful 'Index of the Principall Matters', as well as the engraved architectural title-page by Martin Droeshout, who had also previously engraved the famous portrait of Shakespeare for the first folio. One of the great intellectual literary endeavours of the early modern age, and a cornerstone title in 'Printing and the Mind of Man' (PMM 95).

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