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Price: £499.99

  

Hudibras

In Three Parts in Two Volumes

Written in the Time of the Late Wars

Corrected and Amended With Large Annotations and a Preface by Zachary Grey

Adorn'd with a new Set of Cuts

1744 - Cambridge - J. Bentham

8.5" x 5.5", 424pp + index, & 446pp + index

 

DETAILS

Two leatherbound volumes with gilt titles to the spine, and 16 plates illustrated by William Hogarth: 9 in Volume I and 7 in Volume II.

Samuel Butler (8 February 1612 25 September 1680) was a poet and satirist. Born in Strensham, Worcestershire and baptised 14 February 1613,he is remembered now chiefly for a long satirical burlesque poem on Puritanism entitled Hudibras.

The work is a satirical polemic upon Roundheads, Puritans, Presbyterians and many of the other factions involved in the English Civil War. The work was written in three parts in 1663, 1664 and 1678 although an unauthorised edition came out in 1662. Published only four years after Charles II had been restored to the throne and the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell being completely over the poem found an appreciative audience. The satire is not balanced as Butler was fiercely royalist and only the parliamentarian side are singled out for ridicule. Butler also uses the work to parody some of the dreadful poetry of the time.

The epic tells the story of Sir Hudibras, a knight errant who is described dramatically and with laudatory praise that is so thickly applied as to be absurd, and the conceited and arrogant person is visible beneath. He is praised for his knowledge of logic despite appearing stupid throughout, but it is his religious fervour which is mainly attacked. His squire, Ralpho, is of a similar stamp but makes no claim to great learning, knowing all there is to know from his religion or new-light, as he calls it. Butler satirises the competing factions at the time of the protectorship by the constant bickering of these two principal characters whose religious opinions should unite them.

These are fawning but barbed portraits and are thought to represent personalities of the times but the actual analogues are, now as then, debatable. "A Key to Hudibras" printed with one of the work's editions (1709) and ascribed to Roger L'Estrange names Sir Samuel Luke as the model for Hudibras. Certainly, the mention of Mamaluke in the poem makes this possible although Butler suggests Hudibras is from the West Country making Henry Rosewell a candidate. The witchfinder, Matthew Hopkins, John Desborough, parliamentarian general, and William Prynne, lawyer, all make appearances, and the character of Sidrophel is variously seen as either William Lilly or Paul Neale.

The mock heroic epic and its jaunty verse form known as Hudibrastic became the standard of satire for some time after that with at least twenty-seven direct imitations being produced. Fifty years after the last part was written a new edition was published, with illustrations by William Hogarth, one of the foremost artists of the day. The work remained popular for several centuries as a warning against the zealotry during the Civil War period of English history. 

CONDITION

The volumes have been rebacked. The bindings are tight and firm with all covers and pages securely attached. There is some mild wear to the extremities including rubbing to the boards. Internally the pages are generally clean and bright with the occasional handling mark and isolated spot. There are bookplates to the front pastedowns. Overall the volumes are in very good condition.

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Price: £499.99


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