The Poeticon Astronomicon; Being the illustrious astronomer's exposition of the lore of the World and the Heavenly Sphere, together with the stories of the planets and constellations: now for the first time rendered complete into English, and reproducing all the original woodcut illustrations from the first illustrated edition printed by Erhard Ratdolt in Venice, 1482
Greenbrae, California: The Allen Press, 1985. Limited Edition. Hardcover. One of 140 copies, quarto size, 150 pp., with prospectus, in a custom binding. Fine. Item #20051101
The fifty-first publication of The Allen Press, being the first translation from Latin into English of "The Poeticon Astronomicon," the earliest printed book to show the figures of the constellations. The translators, Mark Livingston and D. Neel Smith of the University of California, Berkeley, performed skilfully with a difficult text; the Hyginus opus can be perused with considerable ease. Hyginus was a first century A.D. writer of voluminous manuscripts, with the Poeticon as his most famous work. The fifteenth century printed edition of Ratdolt, the noted Venetian printer, is a cornerstone Renaissance work as it transmitted the Greek, Roman and medieval images of the constellations which have survived to this day. Of the popular literature dealing with the movement of the stars and planets, this ranks among the best known. It also has distinctive merit as an early scientific treatise, enlivened by the charming Greek and Roman myths of the constellations.
___DESCRIPTION: This volume issued by the Press in sheets, the original owner had it custom bound in full blue morocco with three gilt-stamped constellation designs, red morocco spine label with the title in gilt, red and blue sewn headbands, fore- and bottom-edges uncut, title-page printed in blue and vermillion with a hand-coloured woodcut of Aquarius, forty-eight illustrations after woodcuts of the fifteenth-century first edition; Monotype Garamond Bold and Solemnis types printed on all-rag paper handmade by the Barcham Green Mill, England, quarto size (11" by 7"), [1-6] 7-150 pp., limited edition, one of 140 copies, unnumbered. Loosely laid in is the publisher's prospectus, a single sheet folded once to four pages, the first page (front cover) being the title page with the hand-coloured woodcut, printed in blue and orange, the third page the prospectus information, second and fourth (final) pages blank. Offered with the original shipping box with a hand-written note on the address label indicating "sheets".
___CONDITION: Fine overall; the leather binding smooth and supple, the colours deep and unfaded, the text block strong and square with solid hinges, and the interior clean and bright; the sole prior owner marking being the original owner's initials (likely also the binder) written in black ink at the bottom of the front free endpaper, and a very small (approx. one-half inch) tear at the gutter of the front free endpaper. Prospectus fine, clean and without wear.
___CITATION: Allen Press Bibliography, no. 51.
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