Monday, 23 July 2007

Utile dulci miscere

Like I mentioned in a previous post it was important for writers and publishers of the 18th century to mix the useful with the pleasant and entertaining. "Care will be taken to mingle Use and Pleasure through the whole Collection," says Dr. Johnson in the introduction to the Harleian Miscellany, and the same seems to be the case for another 18th century book which is currently available in a Swedish translation from a Swedish antiquarian book seller:

The book is Peter Adolph Boysen's Neue und vermehrte acerra philologica: Oder Grundliche Nachrichten aus der Philologie, und den romischen und griechischen Antiquitasten, darinn die schwersten Stellen aller Autorum classicorum der studirenden Jugend zum besten in einer angenehmen Erzehlung kurtzlich und grundlich erklaret werden which in the Swedish translation is: Ny och Förmehrad ACERRA PHILOLOGICA, Det är: Siuhundrade Utwalde, Nyttige/ Lustige och Märkwärdige Historier och DISCOURSER, Utur De Berömligaste Grekiske och Latinske Scribenter sammendragne; Deribland Poeternas fläste Dichter om Gudar og Gudinnor; De fordna Romares och Grekers förnämste Handlingar; Någre brukelige Ord-Språk, samt åtskillige naturlige Saker finnas månde: Allom Historie-Älskarom til Nöije; Men i synnerhet den studerande Swenska Ungdomen til Tienst och Nytto, från Tyskan på wårt Modersmåhl öfwersatte Af P. B. The Swedish translation is from 1737.

I mention this book because, although this blog is not dedicated to the study of Dracula, the book seller thinks that this book could be the first book in Swedish to mention the Wallachian ruler Vlad Tepes Dracula. It seems that apart from the Roman and Greek classical tales mentioned in the title, the book contains a few stories from a later period, including one about a ghost from Stockholm. As the Acerra philologica was intended to educate children and youngsters, we can conclude that more terrifying stories were considered both useful and entertaining for children. I suppose that the title itself refers to the twin purposes, as Acerra philologica means "philological censer".

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