Hard Cover. London: Printed [by Humphrey Lownes] for H. Lownes, G. Lathum, and R. Young, 1628. Very Good.
Fourth edition. Title page with engraving of Cicero's Magistra Vitae holding up the earth by Renold Elstracke dated 1614, portrait of Raleigh engraved by Simon de Passe, "Minde of the Front" leaf, and eight folding maps as issued (pages 56, 108, 152, 218, 350, 270, 386, 388). Royal folio. Full contemporary brown calf, covers and edges stamped in blind, raised bands to spine with title stamped in gilt, red speckled edges, plain endpapers. Very good with light wear and cracking to calf, rebacked with original spine laid down, inner hinges reinforced, original endpapers and endbands, engraved title page tipped onto a stub, some repair to edges and strengthening along gutters on portrait, Mind of the Front, and first page of the Preface, some dampstaining throughout (most noticeably to gutters of text, Contents, and Tables), small spots of soiling to some text leaves, portrait with contemporary notation of numbers in ink, notations in a contemporary hand to endpapers (including brief instructions to bindery on front free endpaper), modern bookplate to front pastedown. Overall, an early edition of an important English Renaissance work, in an excellent contemporary binding, complete with all maps. ESTC S116303. PMM 117. The History of the World is an ambitious work that surveys the beginning of civilization to 146 BC, dealing primarily with biblical, Greek, and Roman history. Sir Walter Raleigh wrote the book while imprisoned in the Tower of London after being accused of treason against Queen Elizabeth's successor, King James I. He completed it with the aid of assistants and the Tower of London's library, which included more than 500 books. Raleigh wrote the book as a teaching tool for Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, and had originally intended for it to be a multivolume work; however, the project was left unfinished when the prince died in 1612. Authorities quickly suppressed the work after it was initially published because of its perceived subversiveness towards monarchy as a form of rule. Nevertheless, a number of printings continued to be produced throughout the 17th century due to a high demand for the book. The book is acknowledged as one of the great literary masterpieces of the English Renaissance and gives unique insight into how the English viewed the world in the early 17th century. Sir Walter Raleigh was an important literary figure in the Elizabethan Era, and his influence has been felt through the centuries. He wrote most of his poetry while a prominent member of Queen Elizabeth's court, including the oft anthologized poems, "The Lie" and "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd." He helped Edmund Spenser's allegorical masterpiece "The Fairie Queene" reach the Queen's attention, which resulted in Spenser gaining a lifetime pension of 50 pounds a year from her and allowed his epic poem to achieve the popularity that it did. Also, Raleigh's book The Discovery of Guiana (1596), based on his expeditions for gold in South America, played a large part in popularizing the myth of El Dorado. This is the fourth edition of Raleigh's History: the first four editions were printed in 1614 by William Stansby (with an engraved title, errata uncorrected), 1617 by Stansby (printed title with portrait of Raleigh), 1621(a reissue of the second edition) by William Jaggard, who printed Shakespeare's first folio in 1623, and this fourth edition in 1628. At least seven more editions were published in the seventeenth century, along with one each in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.