by AESCHYLUS (525/524-456/455 BCE); Thomas STANLEY (1625-1678) Thomas MORELL (1703-1784). [Greek title, trans.: Aischylou Prometheus desmotes]
London:: T. Longman. 1773. hardcover. 4to. [iv], vii, , 78, [2 blank], ii, 47, [1 blank], 212, [x], 36. pp. Original full calf, gilt-stamped spine and black leather spine. label; lightly worn, hinges repaired, label chipped. Paper library. label to spine foot. Theological Institute of Connecticut blind-. stamps to first and last few pages. Very good. RARE.. FIRST EDITION of the first English translation of Prometheus Bound [which Morell titles Prometheus in Chains], included after a Greek version and a Latin translation. Â¶ Â“The first translation of PROMETHEUS BOUND was published (with a Greek text and StanleyÂ’s Latin version) in 1773, making it the first translation of Aeschylus to appear in English, anticipating Robert PotterÂ’s complete plays by four years. The translator, Thomas Morell (1703-1784), was a cleric, classical scholar, and poetaster who had earlier supplied Handel with a number of oratorio texts. His version, in indifferent blank verse and uninspired rhyming lyrics, Â‘though not impregnated with the fire of Aeschylus, has been useful to schoolboys,Â’ according to MorellÂ’s younger contemporary, John NicholsÂ” (Classe, p. 15). Â¶ Â“Morell shows some awareness of the theatre, if only in his dedication: Â‘The translation of this first play extantÂ’ is dedicated to David Garrick, Â‘indisputably the first actor in this (perhaps in any) ageÂ’Â” (Walton, p. 108). Â¶ Â“Aeschylus had not been available in any modern language, including English, until the 1770s. The possibility that Aeschylus might be profitably translated was entertained after the appearance of the Marquis J.J. Le Franc de PompiganÂ’s French version of 1770, and the first English rendering of Prometheus Bound, by HandelÂ’s erstwhile librettist Thomas Morell, was incorporated into his attractive edition of 1773; this had reached a relatively wide audience since the leading figure in the contemporary theatre world, David Garrick, who had a strong interest in Greek tragedy, had been responsible for raising the subscriptionÂ” (Hall, pp. 213-214). REFERENCES: Classe, O. [ed.], Encyclopedia of Literary Translation into English: A-L, Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000; ESTC T87014; Hall, Edith, Â“The Problem with Prometheus: Myth, Abolition, and Radicalism,Â” Ancient Slavery and Abolition: From Hobbes to Hollywood, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, 209-246 pp.; Nicoll, Allardyce, A History of English Drama, 1660-1900, Vol. VI, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1959, p. 410; Walton, J. Michael, Found in Translation: Greek Drama in English, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006. . 2 (Inventory #: LV2081)
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