Haller’s Usong in translation

Posted on 9th April 2020 by simonbeattie

Another book from the recently-released Anglo-German Cultural Relations catalogue: Albrecht von Haller’s Usong.  An Eastern Narrative …  (London: Printed for the Translator; and sold by F. Newbery … and J. Walter …  1772).

This first edition in English was published only a year after the original had appeared in Germany, apparently at the instigation of Queen Charlotte.  ‘This accurate translation, one of the best of the time, well reproduces the simple and direct style of Haller …  The Critical found it a “happy imitation of Télémaque.”  But the Monthly called it “the laboured effort of a cold and slow imagination.”  A reader wrote protesting vigorously against this judgment, saying he was ravished with Usong in the translation and warmed again in reading the original’ (Stockley, p. 35).

This is an unusual binding for what is essentially popular literature.  Presumably it was done as a gift, perhaps for a woman as there is no bookplate.

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