London: in aedibus Wina[n]di de Worden, 1521.
Quarto: 18.5 x 13.2 cm. Two parts in one volume (as issued).  pp. Collation: A-M4/6; A4, B-C6
NINTH EDITION (1st ed. publ. 1512).
Bound in full red morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, with de Worde's trademark tooled in blind on front board, along with title, author, and imprint date. Title page printed within four-part woodcut compartment with Wynkyn de Worde's (d. 1534?) logo on shields at top and bottom [McKerrow 49 & 50], text in a combination of black letter and roman characters. Ex libris Clara & Irwin Strasburger, with their book label. Rare. Of the 16 editions printed between 1512 and 1529, all are very rare (ESTC records only 1 or 2 copies of 7 of those editions.) ESTC records 6 copies of this edition, 4 of them in the U.K., 2 of them in the U.S. (Illinois and Williams College). ESTC locates 9 copies of the other 1521 edition, 6 in the U.K., 3 in the U.S. (Harvard, Williams, and Yale.).
Robert Whittington, the Tudor grammarian and schoolmaster who famously dubbed Sir Thomas More "a man for all seasons", studied under the grammarian John Stanbridge (1463-1510). About 1499 he began to study rhetoric and in 1501 to teach as a schoolmaster. “Whittington was England’s bestselling grammarian in the decades between Stanbridge’s death in 1510 and the royal endorsement of William Lily’s ‘Grammar’ in 1542, and De Worde was his staple publisher.”(Ridley, Parts of Speech)
In addition to achieving success as an author and teacher, Whittington achieved the favor of Henry VIII. “It is likely that in 1523 Whittington succeeded Francis Philip as schoolmaster to the henchmen, the noble youths of the royal household, and he certainly held this appointment from Michaelmas 1528 until Christmas 1538.” Whittington died in 1553.
This is Whittington’s work on metrics and poetics, “The Second Part of Grammar: On the quantity of syllables, accent, and the various kinds of meters”. The book also includes excerpts from Diomedes the Grammarian (fl. 4th c.) on accent and the Venetian humanist Francesco Negri’s (1452-1523) “Grammatica”(1480). The full range of meters is addressed as are the various literary genres in which they are employed (tragedy, comedy, epic, the hymn, the ode), with examples from classical authors (especially Horace). Greek and Hebrew loan words are also addressed.
The book is a fine example of printing by Wynkyn de Worde, William Caxton’s employee and eventual successor. De Worde worked for Caxton at Cologne, Bruges, and Westminster from 1471 until Caxton’s death in 1492, at which point he took over Caxton’s business. De Worde thrived as a printer and publisher, moving from Westminster to London (where he operated two presses) and established a dynamic marketing network. De Worde was the principal publisher of Whittington’s grammatical works.
This edition was printed during what has come to be known as “the grammarians’ war”, a dispute between Whittington and his rival William Horman over their opposing pedagogical methods, a “war” fueled by the commercial ambitions by the two grammarians’ respective publishers.
“In 1519, Richard Pynson printed a vulgaria—a primer of English and Latin sentences—by Robert Whittington’s rival schoolmaster William Horman, promoting imitation of classical models in schoolroom instruction. Perhaps smelling an opportunity for preferment, Whittington shot back in defence of traditional preceptive methods with his own vulgaria, printed by De Worde in 1520, which openly scorned ‘the tendency of humanist education to replace the study of grammar by the practice of … imitation’. What ensued was an acrimonious Bellum Grammaticale, the ‘Grammarians’ War’, which lasted until 1521 and was cannily promoted by Pynson and De Worde in order to sell competing books.”(Ridley, Parts of Speech)
Wynkyn de Worde:
“Wynkyn de Worde, printer, appears in written documents only from 1479; his date of birth and family background are unknown. His name suggests he was born in a place named Wörth (possibly Woerth-sur-Sauer (Bas-Rhin, Alsace) or Wörth am Rhein in the duchy of Lorraine.) From Woerth he probably travelled up the Rhine to Cologne, and became Johannes Veldener's apprentice before joining William Caxton during his visit to Cologne (1471–2); he went with Caxton on his return to Bruges (1472) and subsequently accompanied him to Westminster (1475 or 1476)…
“Caxton's death early in 1492 changed Wynkyn's life. Caxton's will is not extant; although Caxton had a daughter, Wynkyn took over the business. The sacrist's rolls for Westminster Abbey indicate that from 1491/2 Wynkyn rented the shop by the chapter house, formerly rented by Caxton, at 10s. a year. He paid this rent until 1499. Wynkyn's edition of Walter Hilton's Scala perfectionis (1494) was 'sette in printe in William Caxtons hows' (colophon). Besides the premises formerly occupied by Caxton, Wynkyn rented rooms just outside the abbey from 1495/6 until 1499/1500. He began, after Caxton's death, by using Caxton's device, founts, and woodcuts…
“In 1500/01 Wynkyn left Westminster for London, where he settled at the sign of the Sun in Fleet Street in St Bride's parish. By 1509 he also had a shop at St Paul's Churchyard at the sign of Our Lady of Pity. The move reflects the importance of London as a publishing and mercantile centre, and a recognition that Wynkyn had embarked on a new publishing policy. He turned away from the courtly material favoured by Caxton, which had led him to settle at Westminster, to religious, popular, and educational books, which were better distributed from London. A base in London let him keep an eye on other printers with whom he alternately competed and entered into partnership. Printers and publishers then formed a close circle. Wynkyn worked, for example, with printers such as Richard Pynson, Julian Notary, and Peter Treveris, for they issued many texts co-operatively and exchanged woodcuts, borders, type, and probably text…
“[Wynkyn's publishing program] opened up new areas ignored by Caxton. One consists of religious and spiritual books, prompted possibly by his association with Lady Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII's mother. He printed Scala perfectionis for her as early as 1494, though unnamed people also recommended religious books at that time. Possibly through Margaret he established links with Syon House, a Bridgettine foundation, and published books from its library and distributed others to its nuns. He may have taken particular interest in his female clientele. He also published books by the monks of Syon, such as Richard Whitford. Through Margaret, whose printer he formally styled himself for the final months of her life in 1509, he published works by John Fisher and other bishops; these included Fisher's funeral sermon for Margaret…
“Educational texts, mainly by English writers, constituted another development in Wynkyn's publishing. He worked with individual grammarians, acting as their publisher. He published over 150 editions of grammatical works by Robert Whittington and over 75 editions of those by John Stanbridge, some of which were issued with other London printers. A third new area was English poetry by past and living writers, including both elevated and popular material. Over twenty editions of Lydgate's works were issued, along with fifteen popular romances, such as Ipomydon. Wynkyn published many contemporary poets—not only well-known ones, such as Stephen Hawes and John Skelton, but also minor poets, such as William Walter and Christopher Goodwin. He continued the Caxton tradition of printing prose romances translated from French, such as Huon of Bordeaux.
“Given the quantity and diversity of the books he published, Wynkyn needed to establish a marketing network. In addition to his links with London printers and bookbinders, trading associations are indicated through his contacts with Hugo Goes, a York printer; John Scoler and Charles Kyrforth, Oxford stationers; Robert Woodward, a Bristol stationer; and Henry Jacobi, Henry Pepwell, and John Gough, London stationers, of whom the first also sold books in Oxford. John Tourner, a stationer, was a witness of Wynkyn's will. He had servants such as Robert Maas with Dutch names who may have formed part of his links with the Low Countries, and he was in contact with French printers. He had links with leather producers, probably through his own bookbinding activities. He also had a wide range of patrons, who requested books from him. Some are unnamed scholars; others are monks, such as Whitford, merchants, such as Thorney, or nobles, such as Margaret Beaufort.
“Wynkyn died at some point between 5 June 1534, when he signed his will, and 19 January 1535, when it was proved. On his death John Byddell took over the business.”(N. F. Blake, Oxford DNB).
STC 25515; ESTC S105323