London: Jacob Tonson, 1705.
First edition. Engraved headpieces and vignettes. [xii], 534, [10, index] pp., with half-title. 8vo. Contemporay Cambridge calf, citron morocco spine label, red sprinkled edges. Small chip to head of spine, else fine. Old shelf label at foot of spine, book label on front pastedown. ESTC T74575. Item #307964
An incredibly fresh and clean copy of the first edition of Addison's account of his grand tour experiences in Italy. "After travelling south to Marseilles Addison took ship for Italy on 12 December 1700, but was driven back by a storm. In the end he reached Genoa by land, and then proceeded through Pavia to Milan and then Venice, after which he followed the accustomed route south, choosing to go via San Marino and Loreto as he journeyed briefly to Rome and then on to Naples. He climbed Vesuvius, sailed round Capri, and sailed back up the coast to Rome. Here he passed a more extended sojourn, visiting churches, annotating architecture and antiquities, and undertaking trips out to literary shrines such as Tivoli and Frascati. There were poetic echoes on almost every corner for a man as deeply imbued in the ancient corpus as Addison, and he was to coin the phrase ‘classic ground’ to express a pervading atmosphere of ageless accomplishment, as the familiar texts sprang unbidden into his mind" (ODNB). It was while crossing the Alps in December of 1701 that Addison wrote the poem "A Letter from Italy," one of his most popular.
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