334J Roger Boyle ,The Earl of Orrery. (1676-1731)
Parthenissa. That most fam’d romance· The six volumes compleat. Composed by the right honourable the Earl of Orrery.
London : printed by T[homas]. N[ewcomb]. for Henry Herringman, at the Blue Anchor in the lower-walk of the New Exchange, MDCLXX·VI [1676]             $3,500
IMG_2011Folio, 13 X 8 inches. A² B-3E⁴ 3F², 3Q-5I⁴ 5K⁴(final blank5K4). [Volumes 2-6 each with divisional title page.808 pages}Text appears continuous despite pagination and register.]. First complete edition, preceded by a parts issue which was issued from 1651 to 1669.

First edition of this Restoration romance by the first Earl of Orrery with a plot somewhat typical of the period: platonic lovers and historical allegory in a classical setting, etc.

In addition to this novel, he wrote poetry, plays and a Treatise on the Art of War (1667), and he was a friend of Katherine Philips and Margaret Cavendish.
Evidence of contemporary readership by a woman:
handsome armorial bookplate on the verso of the title-page.
Handwritten signature of Bridget Taylor, December, 1694 !

The Folger Library also has a book owned by Briget Taylor

{ from Folger catalogue C6659.
General Description:
Late 17th century English “Cambridge Style” binding.
Country / Style:
17th century (late)
Call Number:
inscriptions on front paste-down: “Bridget Taylor her Booke 1693”; and “C. L. Lewes, 1910”; bookplate of “White, Wallingwells”. The spine on the Folger book of the same provenance is almost the same as the present book. “The spine is divided into seven panels, each framed with a gilt double line. The author and title is gilt on a burgundy leather label in the second panel. The other panels are gilt with corner volute brackets with an ornamental center fleuron stamp. The board edges are blind tooled with the decorative tulip roll.”


The earliest instance of a”romance” credited to an Irish writer “ 
(Sweeney, Ireland and the Printed Word)
      “Of originall English romances, written in competition with the French masterpieces , the Parthenissa of Lord Orrery (1654) is the best known.” (Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th edn vol. 19 p836 ‘The Novel , Edmund Gosse )
             Educated at Christ church, he joined the wits engaged in a struggle with Bentley, who represented the scholarship of the Cambridge whigs. Sir W. Temple had made some rash statements as to the antiquity of Phalaris in a treatise on ancient and modern learning, and this was the subject of attack by Wotton, a protégé of Bentley’s in his ‘Reflections on Ancient and Modern Learning,’ published in 1694. By way of covering Temple’s defeat, the Christ Church scholars determined to publish a new edition of the epistles of Phalaris. This was entrusted to Boyle, who, without asserting the epistles of Phalaris. This was entrusted to Boyle, who, without  asserting the epistles to be genuine, as Temple had done, attacked Bentley for his rudeness in having withdrawn too abruptly a manuscript belonging to the King’s Library, which Boyle had borrowed. Bentley now added to a new edition of Wotton’s ‘Reflections’ a ‘Dissertation’ upon the epistles, from his own pen. Boyle was aided by Atterbury and Smalridge in preparing a defense, published in 1698 entitled ‘Dr. Bentley’s Dissertations … examined.’ Bentley returned to the charge and overwhelmed his opponents by the wealth of his scholarship. The dispute led to Swift’s ‘Battle of the Books.’” .
Loeber: 305; Wing O-490;Sweeney  #621;

A Bibliographical Study of “Parthenissa” by Roger Boyle Earl of Orrery Author(s): C. William Miller
Source: Studies in Bibliography, Vol. 2 (1949/1950), pp. 115-137 Published by: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/40371074

Accessed: 22-08-2019 17:52 UTC