ARISTOTLE, Poetics, ed. THOMAS TYRWHITT (Oxford, 1794)

(Provenance: Bishop Burgess bequest)

The great textual critic Thomas Tyrwhitt (1730-86) entered the Queen's College, Oxford in 1747 and was elected a Fellow of Merton College in 1755.He was Deputy Secretary at War from 1756 to 1762 and, after resigning his fellowship, Clerk of the House of Commons from 1762 to 1768. But he then retired from public life and devoted the rest of his life to bringing his exceptional expertise as a philologist to bear on a wide range of problems of textual criticism. He has been called one of the greatest critics of the eighteenth century.His published studies ranged from Chaucer, Shakespeare and Chatterton's forged poems of 'Thomas Rowley' to Plutarch, Aesop, 'Orpheus', Strabo,Isaeus and, here, Aristotle. The title page of his edition of Aristotle's Poetics reads: 'Aristotelis de Poetica Liber. Textum recensuit, versionem refinxit, et Animadversionibus illustravit, Thomas Tyrwhitt.'

The work was itself edited before publication after Tyrwhitt's death by Thomas Burgess, who saw it through the press while he was a Prebendary of Durham Cathedral. Tyrwhitt had been Burgess' mentor, inspiration and friend (he gave Burgess the volumes of his edition of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales of 1775-8 inscribed 'T. Burgess 1780 from the editor'), and Burgess must have regarded the task of seeing his Poetica published as the repayment of a debt of gratitude and as an act of pietas. Burgess' work included the provision of additional readings, as is made clear on pp. xiii-xiv in the publishers' introductory address to the reader: 'Appendix continet Varias Lectiones ... quas in usum hujusce Editionis auctarii loco comparavit BURGESSIUS' ('The appendix contains variant readings ... which Burgess has prepared for use in this edition in place of a supplement').

ARISTOTLE, Poetics ([Venice], 1536)

(Provenance: Bishop Burgess bequest)

This copy of the 1536 Aldine Press edition of Aristotle's Poetics was owned both by Thomas Tyrwhitt and by Thomas Burgess. The title page states that it was printed by Aldus Manutius (Aldo Manuzio), though he himself was dead by 1536, and his heirs were carrying on the work in his name. The book consists of a Latin translation by Alexander Paccius, described as 'patritius Florentinus' ('a patrician of Florence'), followed by the Greek text.

An inscription in Tyrwhitt's hand facing the title page recalls two other editions of the same work from the first half of the sixteenth century:'Repetita est haec Editio "Basileae per Balthasarem Lasium et Thomam Platterum, Mense Martio, Anno MDXXXVII" et "Lutetiae apud Neobarium. MDXLII["].' ('Other editions of this work: Basle, [printed] by Balthasar Lasius and Thomas Platter, March 1537, and Paris, [printed] at [Conrad] Neobar 1542'). Beneath this Burgess has written 'manu Thomae Tyrwhitt' ('in Thomas Tyrwhitt's hand'). Overleaf Burgess has written: 'Thomas Burgess Dec. 7. 1797. This book belonging to my late dear friend Thomas Tyrwhitt Esq was given me by his brother the Revd. Rob. Tyrwhitt.'

The title page bears the signature of a previous owner, W. Carte, and both the Latin and the Greek texts have been annotated by various hands.