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THE HISTORIE [HISTORY] OF THE WORLD IN FIVE BOOKS. Printed in 1628. Folio. Leather. [Travel.] by  Sir Walter RALEGH [RALEIGH] - Fourth Edition - 1628 - from Merchants Rare Books (SKU: 2347)

THE HISTORIE [HISTORY] OF THE WORLD IN FIVE BOOKS. Printed in 1628. Folio. Leather. [Travel.]

THE HISTORIE [HISTORY] OF THE WORLD IN FIVE BOOKS. Printed in 1628. Folio. Leather. [Travel.] by  Sir Walter RALEGH [RALEIGH] - Fourth Edition - 1628 - from Merchants Rare Books (SKU: 2347)

THE HISTORIE [HISTORY] OF THE WORLD IN FIVE BOOKS. Printed in 1628. Folio. Leather. [Travel.]

by RALEGH [RALEIGH], Sir Walter

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About This Item

London: Title: William Stansby for Walter Burre. Colophon: Printed for H. Lownes, G. Lathum, and R. Young, 1628. Fourth Edition. Title page the same as the First Edition of 1614, colophon indicates this to be the 1628 edition, which is the Fourth Edition. Preceded only by three editions: 1614 (which were suppressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and ordered to be seized by King James I), 1617, and 1621. This is a very large book, Folio-sized, near 14 inches tall. Collation: Title Page, Second Title Page, [66], 184, 181-555, [1], 510, 515-669, [55] pages. This book is complete, including both ttle pages. In Good condition, and consistent with that book grade. Bound in calf leather, with a morocco label. The binding is from the early to mid 1800's, and shows a lot of generalized wear, as shown. The leather is supple. It has been archivally rebacked, with the spine laid down, the archivally rebacked hinges are sound. The boards are heavily rubbed and worn especially around the edges. The title page, dated 1614, is torn to inner margin, upper outer corner of image torn with a chip, lined to verso. The second title with engraved portrait of Raleigh, with some wear and creasing but predominantly intact with no loss of text or image. Books is textually complete, but with generalized wear, some stains, creases, marginal loss, closed tears, dirt, ink stain, etc., main wear being some tattering to the rear pages, but all pages are present and accounted for. There are four double-page engraved maps, and two double-page battle plans, making a total of 6 double-page engraved plates, with no indication of any lacking, though earlier editions call for 8 total. Two plates are lined to verso, which appears as issued, as the page numbers are lower on those plates, one also torn to image with some minor loss, two double-page battle plans. Research indicates this copy is wanting the explanatory poem preceding the first title page, by Ben Johnson, titled Minde of The Fronte. Lower outer corner of final leaf torn and repaired, creased, some fraying and marginal loss but no loss of text, this fraying mostly to last few leaves, some damp staining and dust-soiling. The rag paper is remarkably fresh and supple, and will last many more years. An early name. An exceptional copy of Raleigh's History Of The World. Still very presentable and gift worthy, despite being near 400 years old. Regarded until the 19th century as the best—of one of the most famous historical works in English and one of the quintessential books of the Elizabethan era, illustrated with fine double-page engraved maps and plans, text woodcuts and engraved frontispiece portrait of Raleigh by G. Vertue. In this, his last work, composed between 1607-14 while a prisoner in the Tower of London, Raleigh "traced the rise and fall of the three great empires of Babylon, Assyria and Macedon, and dealt exhaustively with the most flourishing periods of Jewish, Greek and Roman history The design and style of Raleigh's History of the World places the book among the noblest of literary enterprises" (DNB). Raleigh completed only the first of his projected three volumes; it spans from Creation to 130 B.C. James I ordered Raleigh's execution in 1618. "Both in time and in merit Rale[i]gh belongs among the first writers of impassioned English prose" (Baugh et al., 625), and his skill as well as his subject matter account for the History's success. "Apart from numerous abridgments, it ran through ten editions between 1614 and 1687 Its author was listened to, not so much because he was a scholar (which he certainly was by contemporary standards of scholarship), as because he embodied all the glories of the reign of Elizabeth I, which at the time of publication had already begun to be transfigured into a golden age" (PMM 117). The major literary production of Ralegh's period of imprisonment, "a substantial work, of about a million words, in five books, running from the creation of the world to 146 BC, the time of the second Macedonian war. The first two books are principally, though not wholly, concerned with biblical history, the last three mainly with the story of Greece and Rome" (ODNB). Begun in 1607 and entered in the Stationer's Register in 1611, first publication should have been in 1614, but Ralegh's use of history as a "moral exemplum", one central theme being the "general wickedness of kings and the severity of God's judgement upon them", led to its suppression by the Archbishop of Canterbury as "too sawcie in censuring princes". All copies were seized by the king's agents for his own use. However, the suppression was soon lifted and the Historie was reprinted in 1617, and remained extremely popular with at least 11 editions produced in the seventeenth century. (Bruschfield.) Raleigh, who had established the lost colony of Roanoke in present-day North Carolina and headed several expeditions to South America, was arrested upon the death of Queen Elizabeth and imprisoned by King James I, with whom he was highly unpopular. James I imprisoned Raleigh in the Tower between 1603-16, during which time he wrote this, his great last work. Raleigh completed only the first volume, which commences with Creation and ends at 130 B.C. “The success of Raleigh’s History… can perhaps be explained by the very fact that it is not a work of history in the academic sense but a political tract of immediate applicability. Its author was listened to… because he embodied all the glories of the reign of Elizabeth I… The History provided an arsenal of political ammunition to the Englishmen who overthrew the absolutism of the Stewarts at home and laid the foundations of New England beyond the seas… [Raleigh] was among the first Englishmen to envisage clearly that the Americas should be the principal goal of English overseas expansion” (PMM 117). “The design and style of Raleigh’s History of the World… places the book among the noblest of literary enterprises” (DNB). First published 1614. “At first sight, [the present, fourth edition] is a reissue of that of 1617 [i.e., the second edition], excepting in the colophon and in the substitution of Historie for History on the [additional engraved] title page; but a closer examination shows a new setting of type, with an alteration of some of the decorated capital letters” (Brushfield 223E). Given the precarious political situation and restrictions on writing about contemporary history, many writers at the time used ancient history as a way to covertly discuss present-day issues. Although ostensibly a recounting of historical facts, Raleigh's work also included commentary that was construed by King James to be critical of the present court. Several months after publication, King James ordered further sales of the book suppressed and all unsold copies to be confiscated "for divers exceptions, but especially for being too saucy in censuring Princes." Raleigh was released from the Tower in 1616 to lead one final expedition to South America, but his men attacked a Spanish outpost and he was executed upon his return to England in 1618. Preceded by only 3 prior Editions (The First Edition in 1614 which was banned and seized), 1617, and 1621. (Brushfield.)


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Merchants Rare Books US (US)
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THE HISTORIE [HISTORY] OF THE WORLD IN FIVE BOOKS. Printed in 1628. Folio. Leather. [Travel.]
Book condition
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Fourth Edition
Title: William Stansby for Walter Burre. Colophon: Printed for H. Lownes, G. Lathum, and R. Young
Place of Publication
Date Published

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About the Seller

Merchants Rare Books

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Biblio member since 2020
Moab, Utah
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About Merchants Rare Books

Merchants Rare Books, established in 2003, buys and sells rare and antiquarian books, with an emphasis on first editions and fine antiquarian sets from the 17th - 19th centuries.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Good describes the average used and worn book that has all pages or leaves present. Any defects must be noted. (as defined by AB... [More]
Very generally, "leaves" refers to the pages of a book, as in the common phrase, "loose-leaf pages." A leaf is a single sheet... [More]
Calf or calf hide is a common form of leather binding. Calf binding is naturally a light brown but there are ways to treat the... [More]
The page bound on the left side of a book, opposite to the recto page.
title page
A page at the front of a book which may contain the title of the book, any subtitles, the authors, contributors, editors, the... [More]
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in... [More]
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf.... [More]
The colophon contains information about a book's publisher, the typesetting, printer, and possibly even includes a printer's... [More]
The collective of the top, fore and bottom edges of the text block of the book, being that part of the edges of the pages of a... [More]
A new book is a book previously not circulated to a buyer. Although a new book is typically free of any faults or defects, "new"... [More]
A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the... [More]
Morocco is a style of leather book binding that is usually made with goatskin, as it is durable and easy to dye. (see also... [More]
having had the material covering the spine replaced. ... [More]