First Edition in English of Machiavelli's "Prince"
MACHIAVELLI, Niccolò. Nicholas Machiavel's Prince. Also, the life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca. And the meanes Duke Valentine us’d to put to death Vitellezzo Vitelli, Oliverotto of Fermo, Paul, and the Duke of Gravina. Translated out of Italian into English; by E. D. With some animadversions noting and taxing his errours. London: Printed by R. Bishop, for Wil: Hils, and are to be sold by Daniel Pakeman , 1640.
First edition in English of Machiavelli's Il Principe (first published in Rome in 1532). Translated by Edward Dacres. Twelvemo (5 7/16 x 3 inches; 138 x 78 mm). [10], 305, [1, blank], [5], [1, blank] pp. Collates A5, B-O12. Textually complete but bound without leaf A6 (second leaf of author's dedication). This was probably an oversight as the catchword is the same as the next page.

Contemporary calf. An excellent copy in a contemporary binding. Boards stamped and ruled in blind. Spine lettered in blind. Board edges gilt. Edges speckled red. Boards with some rubbing and bumping. Front outer joint starting at bottom of the spine and foot of the spine chipped. Minor toning from glue to endpapers. Rear free endpaper with a closed tear. Overall a very nice copy, and internally very clean.

"'The Prince' is far more than a book of directions to any one of the many Italian princelings. Machiavelli [1449-1527] had profited by his journeys to France and Germany to make the most able analyses (in his reports to his government) of a national government, and he now wrote for the guidance of the ruler by whom alone Italy, desperately divided, could be restored to political health. Hitherto political speculation had tended to be a rhetorical exercise based on the implicit assumption of Church or Empire. Machiavelli founded the science of modern politics on the study of mankind- it should be remembered that a parallel work to 'The Prince' was his historical essay on the first ten books of Livy. Politics was a science to be divorced entirely from ethics, and nothing must stand in the way of its machinery. Many of the remedies he proposed for the rescue of Italy were eventually applied. His concept of the qualities demanded from a ruler and the absolute need of a national militia came to fruition in the monarchies of the seventeenth century and their national armies (Printing and the Mind of Man).

Machiavelli's political writings were the most influential of the period, and "no work had a profounder influence upon the thought and policy of Tudor England than Machiavelli's Prince" (English Literature and History from 15th to the 18th Century, Maggs catalogue no.550).

"Machiavelli (1469–1527) was an Italian statesman and political philosopher whose most famous work, Il Principe (The Prince, 1532), put forward the controversial idea that a successful ruler would sometimes have to commit immoral acts, such as deception or ruthless killing, in order to maintain his rule and the stability of his kingdom. The ruthlessness and realpolitik of The Prince influenced the development of the Elizabethan stage Machiavel: a figure that combined elements of the Vice character (the comic villain from medieval morality drama) with a negative caricature of Machiavellian ideology as godless, scheming and self-interested. Christopher Marlowe was particularly well known for his Machiavels: Barabas, Faustus and Tamburlaine. Shakespearean examples include Iago, Edmund and Richard, Duke of Gloucester... The Prince circulated widely in England from the 1580s in Italian, French and Latin printed editions. Scholars believe Shakespeare could read Italian, but in any case English translations circulated in manuscript from around 1585. It is not known if Shakespeare read Machiavelli's writings directly, but he would have been familiar with the ideas they discussed (and the stereotypes engendered) from other writings of the time. The first English translation to appear in print was Edward Dacres’s 1640 edition." (The British Library).

Printing and the Mind of Man 63 (1532 Rome edition). STC 17168. Grolier, Wither to Prior, 145 (1637 ed.). Wing M361.

HBS # 68685 $50,000

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