Coleridge poems, Dutch scenes stand out at PBA Galleries, April 5

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The first appearance of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic Romantic poem ‘Kubla Khan,’ published with ‘Christabel’ and ‘The Pains of Sleep’ in 1816. PBA Galleries image

SAN FRANCISCO – On Thursday, April 5, PBA Galleries will kick off their spring auction season with a sale of Fine Literature & Fine Books. Included in the sale are over 450 lots of fine, rare and uncommon books, including early literature, poetry, philosophical works, science and medicine, history and religion. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Highlighting the sale is the first appearance of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Kubla Khan, A Vision; Christabel; and The Pains of Sleep (above). Published in 1816 these are three of the most highly acclaimed poems of the Romantic period. The result of an opioid-induced dream, Kubla Khan is a fragment of what Coleridge was intending to write. He was interrupted as he was poetically describing the images from his dream and was unable to finish it after the distraction. However, it is one of the most frequently quoted poems and immediately transports the reader/listener to the exotic and interesting place of Xanadu (estimate: $5,000-$8,000).

Méchanique Analitique by Joseph Louis Lagrange, is his foundation work on analytical mechanics, extending and developing the work of Isaac Newton. This first edition, published in Paris in 1788, transformed theoretical mechanics into a system from which fundamental equations describing the motions of any systems of bodies could be derived, by combining the principle of virtual velocities with d’Alembert’s principle. In the preface, Lagrange notes the absence of diagrams in the book, which he believed the lucidity of his own presentation had rendered unnecessary (estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

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Joseph Louis Lagrange’s 1788 foundation work on analytical mechanics, ‘Méchanique Analitique,’ furthered Newton’s work by transforming it into a system that described the motions of any system of bodies by fundamental equations. PBA Galleries image

One of the earliest works in the sale is the first Aldine edition of the Opera of Cornelius Tacitus, from 1534. The press, known for its editions of Greek and Latin classics, was under the stewardship of Aldus’ son, Paulus Manutius, when this edition was published. Tacitus is considered one of the greatest Roman historians living during the Silver Age of Latin literature (estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

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The 1534 Aldine edition of works of famed Roman historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus. PBA Galleries image

The captivating Emblemata by Johan de Brune, contains a full page pictorial title page and 51 half-page copper-engraved illustrations of 17th century Dutch life. The 1624 Amsterdam publication shows such depictions as a doctor bleeding a woman with leeches (below), serenading with interesting musical instruments, playing the parlor game “drop the handkerchief,” rolling a huge snowball, tapping a keg of beer and playing cards (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

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The 1624 ‘Emblemata’ depicts contemporary Dutch life including an illustration of a doctor bleeding a woman with leeches. PBA Galleries image

A collection of three influential imaginary voyages and works of utopian fiction is also featured: Mundus Alter et Idem by Joseph Hall (in its third edition – first published in 1605); Civitas Solis, Ida Republic Philosophic by Thomas Campanella (in its second edition – first published in 1623); and Nova Atlantis by Francis Bacon (in its second edition – first published in 1638). Hall’s work is the earliest utopia set in Australia, and Campanella’s City of the Sun and Bacon’s New Atlantis were two of the most reprinted (often together with More’s Utopia and Harrington’s Oceana) of all the 17th century works on the ideal republic. This 1643 publication contains an engraved title page and five folding maps (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

The sale will begin at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.

For more information, please contact PBA Galleries at 415-989-2665 or