Observations on the Poetics of Aristotle, by Metastasio… with a biographical notice of the author…
Sydney: Kemp & Fairfax, 1842.
Rare, and very fine: a presentation copy (inscribed on the front endpaper to Walter Wrottersley “from the translator”) of an unusual publication for this period in Australia, a translation of an obscure commentary on Aristotle. Almost nothing of a philosophical bent was published in Australia before the 1850s and the creation of the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne. Perhaps the earliest philosophical work printed in Sydney?
Elwin says that he translated part of the eighteenth-century writer Metastasio’s critical observations on the Poetics in order to place “such portion as appeared to be likely to engage the attention, as well from the nature of the immediate topic, as from the spirited manner in which it is treated… within reach of the English reader”. Metastasio, or Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi, is best known today because Mozart used his “La Clemenzo di Tito” as the basis for his libretto.
Ferguson originally entered the translator as Elwin Hastings, but the Addenda notes that his identity as Hastings Elwin was established by an inscribed presentation copy offered by Henry Cork, London, Cat. 5 (1929) No. 294. Hastings Elwin was a rather grand figure, friend of the poet Thomas Moore, elected to the NSW Legislative Council in 1843.
Small quarto; original embossed cloth boards with dark green calf spine gilt, partially unopened, in fine condition.
Price (AUD): $2,450.00 other currencies