June 2010 acquisitions

Here is some information on a sample of items recently acquired by Rare Book Collections at the National Library of Scotland.

Poems about Mary Queen of Scots

Illuminated initial
Engraved initial

'De Iezabelis Anglae parricido varii generis poemata Latina et Gallica' consists of poems in Latin, French and Italian. They lament the execution of Mary Queen of Scots in 1587 and attack Queen Elizabeth and Anne Boleyn. The collection was probably edited, and partly written, by Mary's Scottish biographer Adam Blackwood. The poems, signed only by initials, were secretly published in the years 1587 to 1588.

Adam Blackwood (1539-1613) was born in Dunfermline and studied in Paris. His education there was in part funded by Mary. Blackwood's pro-Mary propaganda had a major influence on subsequent French and Scottish national histories of the 17th century.

French 'Dialogues'

Detail from title page
Detail from title page

'Dialogues sur la religion naturelle' is the title of the French translation of David Hume's 'Dialogues concerning natural religion'. The copy we bought is the second issue of the rare first French translation by Paul Henri Thiry, Baron d' Holbach. Although the imprint claims that the book was published in Edinburgh, it was probably printed and published in Holland.

The first English edition of 'Dialogues concerning Natural Religion' appeared in 1779, three years after Hume's death. Hume worked on the book for many years, but it was only published after his death. The first issue of the French translation appeared in 1779, the same year as the first English edition.

'The Pirate' in Dutch

Illustration of a man
Title page

'De Zeeroover' is the first Dutch translation of Walter Scott's novel 'The Pirate'. It was done by the publisher Jan Willem Steenbergen van Goor (1778-1856). Scott's novels in translation became popular very quickly on the Continent.

Scott wrote 'The Pirate' in 1821 at the suggestion of his publisher. He took his inspiration from the tale of the Orkney Pirate John Gow, who was executed in 1725.

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