Item of the Week: Curll's Caesar

Published: August 17, 2010

From Bruce Whiteman, Head Librarian

This second edition (in fact a re-issue of the 1705 edition with an altered title-page) of Bladen’s translation of Caesar is one of the very earliest publications of Edmund Curll (1675-1747), the infamous London publisher of naughty books and the nemesis of Alexander Pope. Curll took over the shop of Richard Smith in 1708 when Smith went bankrupt, but he is known to have shared in publishing four books as early as 1706. Two – the Caesar and A Letter to Mr. Prior – are dated 1706, while two further books – The Devout Christian’s Companion and J. Botton’s Prince Eugene: An Heroic Poem –though dated 1707, are known to have been available in late 1706.

The English Short Title Catalogue records just thirteen other copies of this early Curll imprint.

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Pat Rogers on

Only just seen your informative note on this noteworthy volume. Just very small points to add. (1) Curll also collaborated with John Baker and Benjamin Bragg on an edition of The Athenian Spy in March 1706. (2) The attributed author of Price Eugene is J. Bolton, though nothing known of him. (3) The Commentaries were dated 1706 but no ad discovered prior to 5 July 1707 (however, A Letter to Mr Prior, also in Clark holdings, suggests it may have been available by 22 June 1706).
The volume will be entry 06.05 in a descriptive catalog of Curll ‘s publications, the fifth listing out of well over 1000 items. Paul Baines and I have been compiling this list for more thn a decade: with luck we hope to complete this in a year or so. Any information or eleads from librarians and scholars will be gratefully received.

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