BOYLE, Roger Earl of Orrery. Parthenissa, That Most Fam’d Romance. The Six Volumes Compleat. Composed By The Right Honourable The Earl of Orrery. London: Printed by T.N. for Henry Herringham, at the Blue Anchor in the Lower-Walk of the New Exchange, 1676. Folio. pp. , 403, , 485-808 (i.e. 730, with printer’s error in pagination). Titlepage, with publisher’s device, printed in red and black. Contemporary full sprinkled calf, spine expertly rebacked preserving early maroon morocco letterpiece. From the library of John Robert Mowbray, with his armorial bookplate on front pastedown. Slight spotting to first gathering. A very good copy of an exceedingly rare item in commerce.
Wing O 490. Sweeney 621.
The earliest instance of a romance credited to an Irish writer and this completed work has rendered it most accessible to the researcher. It is also said to be the first English language romance in the style of the 17th century French writers of heroic romance, Gauthier de Costas de la Calprenède and Madeleine de Scudery. The influence of de Scudery is especially noteworthy in Boyle’s use of contemporary allusions in this work which deals with two Princes, Artabanes and Surena, competing for the love of Parthenissa.
Published originally in parts, the first four of which were, according to Henry Bradshaw, printed in Waterford.
Sir John Robert Mowbray, 1st Baronet PC (1815-1899), known as John Cornish until 1847, was a British Conservative politician and long-serving Member of Parliament, eventually serving as Father of the House.
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