The first Scandinavian grammar

Jonsson, Runolfur (Runolphus Jonas). Recentissima antiquissimae linguae septentrionalis incunabula. Id est grammaticae Islandicae rudimenta [...].

Copenhagen, Petrus Hakius, 1651.

4to (160 x 189 mm). (16), 168 pp. Title-page printed in red and black. With woodcut head- and tail-pieces and decorative initials. 18th or early 19th century full vellum with gilt spine, giltstamped green spine label, and handwritten place and date to spine. All edges sprinkled red.


First edition, rare.

The first grammar of the Icelandic language, and indeed the first complete grammar of any Scandinavian language. Jonsson's seminal work promotes the wealth and elegance of his native tongue, utterly "insisting on the precedence of Icelandic over the other nordic languages" (Jauman). Composing what is essentially an invitation to study Icelandic, Jonsson systematically applied to his mother tongue the insights he had gained studying other languages including Hebrew, Greek, Latin, English, and German.

Title-page a little stained and spotted, lightly browned throughout. Large tears to a4 and b4 torn, repaired with loss to text. Larger traces of worming to most leaves to circa D1, thereafter diminishing to one or two small holes within text, disappearing entirely from O3 onwards. Still a good copy of a classic of 17th century linguistics.

Provenance: from the collection of Sir Walter Halsey (1868-1950) with his armorial "Gaddesden Library" bookplate to front flyleaf.


BL-STC Scandinavian R 478. Bruun IV, 58. Fiske 306. 378. Jauman/Stiening, Neue Diskurse der Gelehrtenkultur in der Frühen Neuzeit. OCLC 792882312.

Art.-Nr.: BN#57412 Schlagwörter: ,