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Fletcher, Phineas.  The Purple Island, or the Isle of Man: Together with Piscatorie eclogs and other poeticall miscellanies. Cambridge: Pr. by the Printers to the Universitie of Cambridge, 1633. 4to (18.3 cm, 7.2"). [14], 181, [3], 130, [2] pp.
$1,750.00

First edition of this epic allegory of personhood, paired with a set of pastoral verses featuring fisher-boys. Fletcher (1582–1650) was a prolific author of both theological and secular works, with the two main pieces here being among his most distinctive and best-remembered. "The Purple Island" is an extended allegory in Spenserian style, comparing the human body and mind to a landscape, with anatomical notes; following that and the "Piscatory Eclogues" is "Elisa, or an Elegie upon the Unripe Decease of Sr. Antoie Irby," with a separate title-page. A "Hinc lucem et pocula" printer's vignette appears at the end of most cantos of the first work, while the second work features decorative capitals and typographical head- and tailpieces, and the title-page of the final piece is ornamented with => an interesting coffin design created with typographical and woodcut elements.
        Pforzheimer notes ruefully that this volume "though well-known by title [. . .] is little read despite the fact that though seriously intended it is => now frequently very amusing."
        Evidence of Readership: Occasional pencilled or inked underlining and marginal marks of emphasis; red bracketing (mostly faint); seven marginal annotations inked in an early hand (mostly translating the classically inspired names, as that Porneios is "Fornication" and Aselges "Lasciviousness"). The printer's vignette on the main title-page has been partially colored in, and the letters "B.D." have been added following the author's initials on the second title-page.
        Provenance: Front pastedown with armorial bookplate of Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, Jr., and with small, attractive 19th-century institutional ticket.
        Binding: 19th-century morocco, framed and panelled in blind, turn-ins with gilt rolls; top edges gilt, marbled paper endpapers. The extremely minute => binder's stamp of Alfred Matthews appears, in gilt, within the lower turn-in of the front cover.

ESTC S102332; NCBEL, I, 1188; STC (2nd ed.) 11082; Pforzheimer, I, 376. Binding as above, spine sunned, joints refurbished, light wear to sides and corners. Markings as above, main title-page also with small, faint pencilled inscription in upper portion; one leaf with lower outer corner torn away, not touching text. Pages gently age-toned, with annotations as above, otherwise clean. => A solid, very readable copy, with an interesting history evident.  (41438)   Please RESHELVE This.


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