Monday, March 19, 2012

More translations: German, Italian, Russian, Dutch

Updated July 21, 2014. See this essay for a subsequent important discovery! 

 As we saw in the last essay, the first translation of Hoyle was a 1753 Portuguese edition. I'll continue to discuss later translations, but I can not be as exhaustive as I am with the English versions. I have not seen all of the books I intend to discuss and am dependent on secondary sources such as library catalogues and the work of Manfred Zollinger.

A year after the Portuguese translation, Hoyle's treatise on whist appeared in Germany as Kurzgefaßte Anweisung zum Whist-Spiele. Aus dem Englischen des Herrn Hoyle nach der neuesten Ausgabe übersetzt. As the title notes, it is translated from the latest edition, the "eighth" London edition of 1748.  No publisher or place of publication is noted, although someone more familiar with mid-Eighteenth century printing in Germany may be able to identify the ornaments appearing on the title page or the final printed leaf, pictured below. Zollinger has located a second edition of 1768 and there appear to be many German gaming anthologies that reprint portions of Hoyle. Finally, as I noted in the essay on Bob Short's Short Rules for the Game of Whist, that work was translated to German in 1793.

The final leaf
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1754 German edition
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Nearly two dozen printings of Hoyle's Whist appeared in French, the first in 1761. We will postpone discussion of them for another essay, but note here than French versions were printed in many locations: Paris, Amsterdam, Turin, Vienna, Brussels, Liege, and The Hague. The conclusion is that it is much more useful to talk about the language of translation than the place of publication when discussion the continental editions of Hoyle.

In 1761, Hoyle wrote An Essay Towards Making the Game of Chess Easily Learned, printed for Thomas Osborne. The work was translated into Italian in 1768 as Il giuoco delli scacchi con alcune regole, ed osservazioni per ben giuocarlo del signore Hoyle Inglese tradotte nel nostro idiom, printed in Florence by Gio. Batista Stecchi and Anton-Giuseppe Pagani. This appears to be the only translation of the treatise on chess and I have found no Italian translation of Whist.

Whist was, however, translated into Russian as Sokrashchennoe opisanie vybrannoe iz sochineniia G. Goilia o igrie nazyvaemoi vist obnarodovannoe v Anglii v 1750 godu, printed in Saint Petersburg in 1769 by Tipografii Akademii nauk. Unsurprisingly, it was translated not from English, but from French. The title page suggests that the French translation was from a 1750 English edition, but as we have seen, that text was established in 1748. A single copy survives at the Library of Congress.

1790 Dutch translation
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One final translation appeared in the eighteenth century, a 1790 Dutch edition of Hoyle's treatises on whist, quadrille and piquet, pictured at right and titled Volledig onderwijs in het whist-, omber-, quadrille-, en piket-spel. The game of ombre is included as well, though the text would not have been that of Hoyle. I am not able to trace the text to any particular edition of Hoyle's Whist--the chapters, for example, do not match up in an obvious way with the chapters of the English editions. The title continues "met de nodige toelichtingen voor de Nederlandsche speelers" that is "with necessary explanations for Dutch players" suggestion that there is some original text in the book.

In due course, I will discuss some of the many translations of Hoyle into French.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The first translation of Hoyle

Updated July 21, 2014. See this essay for a subsequent important discovery!

I have written about the evolution of the text of Hoyle's Short Treatise on the Game of Whist, and how it was reprinted in Dublin both as an individual work and as part of The Polite Gamester. With this essay I begin to look at the transmission of the text to the Continent. I am greatly indebted to Manfred Zollinger, who detailed the translations of Hoyle in a piece in The Playing-Card, available in German here (pp198-210).

Zollinger identifies the first continental Hoyle as the 1753 work Breve Tratado do Jogo do Whist, translated by Luiz de Vasconcellos Botelho and published by Na Regia Officina Sylvania, e da Academia Real. I have not seen a copy, but Zollinger notes that the text is taken from the 1748 London "eighth" edition as it contains the thirteen cases first offered in that edition. It also contains an introduction to the reader ("a quem leur") discussing the reception of Hoyle in England. Only two copies are known to survive.

More common are the later Portuguese editions which appeared in 1768, 1784, (both pictured below) and 1818. While the text could have been updated to incorporate the changes of the London "twelfth" edition of 1760 (the new laws and new cases), it seems that the text is unchanged from the first Portuguese edition. The text does add a new chapter to Hoyle, an explanation of how to play whist ("explicaçaõ do jogo"), or rules, as I call them in my essay about the nature of gaming literature.

1768 Portuguese Whist
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1784 Portuguese Whist
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The details of the eighteenth century editions are:
  • Whist.P.1: Breve Tratado do Jogo do Whist, translated by Luiz de Vasconcellos Botelho, Lisbon:  Na Regia Officina Sylvania, e da Academia Real, 1753.
  • Whist.P.2: Lisbon, Na Officina de Joseph da Sliva Nazareth, 1768 (licensed March 4, 1768)
  • Whist.P.3: Breve Tratado do Jogo do Whist. Novamente correcto, e emendado nesta ultima impressaõ, Lisbon, Na Officina de Jozé da Sliva Nazareth, 1784

Monday, March 5, 2012

A copyright fight in Dublin?

updated August 30, 2013 with details about another copy of Wilson first issue identical to the Copisarow copy. 

In the past two essays, I have discussed the publication of Hoyle in Dublin—first the individual treatises and then the anthologies. The books were generally published by the Ewings, first George in 1743, then George and Alexander from 1743 to the 1760s , and lastly Thomas in the 1770s. When Thomas died, the Hoeys took over publication, first James from 1776 to 1783 and finally Peter in 1787. I have not commented on the intrusion of Peter Wilson in 1752 with his editions of Whist and Memory, and the collection The Polite Gamester.

Before discussing the Wilson works, it is time for a digression on copyright practice in Ireland. The English copyright law, the Statue of Anne, did not apply in Ireland. This is why the Irish booksellers were free to reprint Hoyle in Dublin. There was, however, a custom in Dublin that had the force of copyright:
There is a Rule among the Booksellers of Dublin, established by common Consent and Custom, that whoever shall first paste up Title-Pages, advertising their Resolutions of publish any Book, the Property then becomes theirs: And this appears to be necessary in a Country where no public Laws have been made in that Respect. [Pollard p170, citing Thomas Bacon, Dublin Mercury, 1742]
The Ewings, having published Hoyle from 1743, had the rights to publish Hoyle in Dublin. They advertised new editions in The Dublin Journal of February 22, 1752:
The Polite Gamester, containing short treatises of the games of whist, quadrille, back-gammon, piquet and chess, together with an artificial memory, or an easy method of assisting the memory of those that play at the game of whist. By Edmond Hoyle, Gent.--N. B. This thirteenth edition of the game of whist, with the above additions, not in any other edition printed in this kingdom, may be had separately, price 4d. *.* Be careful to ask for the edition printed for G. and A. Ewing.
Two things strike me about this advertisement. First, it notes new material. Dublin was finally to get all the changes to the whist treatise that appeared in London after 1743 including the thirteen new cases of 1748. Second the advertisement suggests awareness of other versions that did not contain the new material.

Indeed there was another version. Peter Wilson advertised in The Dublin Journal of February 29:
This Day is published, by Peter Wilson, opposite the old Horse-guard in Dames street, with two additional Chapters to the game of whist, (not in any former edition,) containing, a Dictionary of Whist, which resolves almost all the critical cases that may happen in the game, and 13 new cases now first published, (price a British shilling).

Wilson's Whist 1752
Copisarow copy
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Wilson was intruding on the customary rights of the Ewings. Indeed, he can said to be a pirate, even in the absence of a copyright law! What text was it that Wilson published? The title page, pictured at left, has several curious features. It is a word-for-word reprint of the Ewing edition of 1743, what I called Whist.D.3 in the essay on individual treatises. It is labelled a "fifth" edition, as was Whist.D.3, at a time when the Ewings were putting out a "thirteenth" edition. Hoyle's first name is given as "Edmund" rather than "Edmond," something which had been corrected in London in 1744.

The table of contents, pictured below, are also identical with Whist.D.3 of 1743 and don't indicate the presence of any of the textual changes that had since been made in London in 1745 and 1748.

Table of Contents
Copisarow copy
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Table of Contents
Copisarow copy
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Note the definitions of "force" and "see-saw" in the contents of chapter 8, something that dates back to the earliest London editions. Only 14 chapters are listed; there are 20 in the contemporary London and Ewing versions. Finally, the laws of whist preceeding chapter 1 contain 25 laws, not 24 as in editions after the "third" London edition.It appears that Wilson was competing against the Ewings with a very old version of Hoyle's works.

In the Copisarow copy, the whist treatise collates π1 A2 B-D6 E1 with six unnumbered pages (π1 A1.2) followed by pages 1-38. The text is identical to Whist.D.3. In all other surviving copies, there is an extra two-leaf, four page gathering after E1, with the page numbers continuing to 46. The extra pages contain the additional cases at whist from 1748 and other appearing in the Ewing edition and promised in the Wilson advertisement. Oddly, the first leaf of the new gathering is signed 'F2' and the second 'F3'.

Since writing this essay, I have acquired a copy identical to the Copisarow copy. It seems clear that the four pages were added later to catch up to the Ewing Hoyle. Wilson issued two versions of Whist as part of The Polite Gamester—the first an out-of-date reprint of an old edition and the second containing the updates from 1748.

Wilson's entry into the Hoyle market was short-lived. The 1752 whist treatise, and the Polite Gamester anthology were his only efforts, while the Ewings kept publish Hoyle for decades thereafter. I have consistently called the Ewing editions "reprints" rather than "piracies." It is fair, however, to call the Wilson edition a piracy.

  • Mary Pollard, Dublin’s trade in books, 1550-1800. Clarendon Press ; Oxford University Press, Oxford; New York. 1989.