Love, Hate, Ambition, and Edinburgh

Posted on 27th March 2019 by simonbeattie

Though we’ve only just returned from New York, we find ourselves preparing yet again for a fair: this time, the 2019 Edinburgh Book Fair.

We are particularly excited to be bringing a rare first edition in German of the first two volumes of the Scottish playwright Joanna Baillie’s Plays on the Passions (publ. 1798 and 1802, respectively; the third did not appear until 1812):

Rare first edition in German of Baillie’s Plays, published in 1806.

The plays are divided into three volumes by ‘passion’: Love (Count Basil, The Tryal), Hate (De Montfort, The Election), and Ambition (Ethwald, The Second Marriage). The first volume, published anonymously, famously had London abuzz with curiosity as to the author’s identity, and it wasn’t until the third edition, published in 1800, that Baillie revealed herself as the work’s creator. The translator, Carl Friedrich Cramer (1752–1807), was a theologian, bookseller, and journalist who also translated Rousseau and Diderot into German, as well as Klopstock and Schiller into French. He was a staunch supporter of the French Revolution and lived in Paris until his death.

If you plan on attending the Edinburgh book fair, do stop by and say hello. You will find us at stand 23, happily sandwiched between the fabulous McNaughtan’s Bookshop and Gallery and Neil Pearson Rare Books. And for those of you looking for something to do that Friday evening, Simon will be giving his very first public reading of his recent translation of Friedo Lampe’s At the Edge of the Night at the Edinburgh Bookshop during their Friday night speakeasy, where G&Ts will be served. Come and join us!


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