The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IV. Prose and Poetry: Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.

XVIII. The Book-Trade, 1557–1625

§ 14. Edward Blount

In 1599, the unauthorised anthology entitled The Passionate Pilgrime, by W. Shakespeare was issued by William Jaggard, whose name is also well known as one of the publishers of the first collected edition of the plays, issued with the co-operation of Shakespeare’s friends in 1623. This monumental volume, which, though a large undertaking, is by no means a remarkable piece of printing, came from the press of Jaggard’s son Isaac, and was printed at the charge of four stationers, William Jaggard, Edward Blount, John Smethwick and William Aspley. The chief share in the enterprise appears to have been taken by Edward Blount, who was something more than a mere trader in books and must have possessed a nice and discriminating literary judgment, fostered, doubtless, during his ten years’ apprenticeship with William Ponsonby. To the 1598 edition of Marlowe’s Hero and Leander, he wrote a preface, defending the dead poet against his detractors. To him we are indebted for Florio’s Italian dictionary A Worlde of Wordes, which appeared in 1598, and for the same writer’s translation of Montaigne’s Essays, first published in 1603. From 1609, he was, for a time, in partnership with William Barret, and together they issued, in 1612, Shelton’s translation of the first part of Don Quixote, notable as being the first translation of Cervantes’s great novel into any language. In 1622, he brought out James Mabbe’s rendering of Aleman’s The Rogue, or the life of Guzman de Alfarache; and to Earle’s Microcosmographie, which he published anonymously in 1628, he wrote a preface.