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Emilia in England in Three Volumes
Chapman & Hall, London 1864 - iv, 306; iv, 285; iv, 338 pages; Three volumes in publisher's cloth: purple with fine horizontal ribs, elaborate pattern stamped in blind on the covers, a pattern on the spine of raised dots in diagonal rows - leading to a "woven" effect. Lettered in gilt on the spines. Yellow glazed endpapers. Covers unfaded, with only trifling rubbing. Some cracking to the inner hinges, and slight "shadow" on the free endpapers: (a brighter rectangular portion where the bookplates on the paste-downs have kept that portion of the facing endpaper from showing the slight effects of the glue used in the book-binding). Bookplates of Augustine Birrell on each of the three paste-down endpapers. Each of the facing free-endpapers has the neat pencil signature of the subsequent owner in the upper corner: "Simon Nowell Smith, July 1936." Each of the three volumes is housed in a matching clam-shell book box -- plum cloth and matching calf spines, with raised bands and lettering on the spines in gilt. Minor rubbing and wear to the boxes. The author, George Meredith (1828-1909) was born in Portsmouth, England, a son and grandson of naval outfitters. Meredith prepared for a legal career, but abandoned that profession for journalism and poetry. He collaborated with Edward Gryffydh Peacock (son of Thomas Love Peacock) in publishing a privately circulated literary magazine, the "Monthly Observer." He married Edward Peacock's widowed sister Mary Ellen Nicolls in 1849 when he was twenty-one years old and she was twenty-eight. He collected his early writings, first published in periodicals, into a volume - 'Poems,' published to some acclaim in 1851. His wife ran off with the English Pre-Raphaelite painter Henry Wallis [1830–1916] in 1858; she died three years later. The collection of "sonnets" entitled 'Modern Love' (1862) came of this difficult experience as did 'The Ordeal of Richard Feverel,' his first "major novel". The book offered here - 'Emilia in England' was published in 1864, the same year that Meredith married Marie Vulliamy in 1864 and settled in Surrey. He continued writing novels and poetry. One of his great themes is featured here (as well as his later volume "The Egoist") - the Victorian era subjugation of women. Meredith supplemented his often uncertain writer's income with a job as a publisher's reader. His position as advisor to Chapman and Hall made him influential in the world of letters. One now-famous encounter as a publisher's reader with a would-be author had Meredith meet the young Thomas Hardy. Hardy had submitted his first novel, "The Poor Man and the Lady." Meredith advised Hardy not to publish his book as it would be attacked by reviewers and destroy his hopes of becoming a novelist. Meredith felt the book was too bitter a satire on the rich and counselled Hardy to put it aside and write another "with a purely artistic purpose" and more of a plot. Meredith knew what he was talking about. His first big novel, 'The Ordeal of Richard Feverel,' was judged so shocking that Mudie's circulating library had cancelled an order of 300 copies. (The circulating libraries bought most of the expensive three-volume novels of this mid-Victorian period. To find a set like this one that does not have even the slightest tell-tale shadow of the removal of Mudie's labels is most unusual). After a quick start and a long period as a journeyman writer, Meredith rose to the top of the literary world of England in and Anglophone world. His friends in this world included, at different times, William and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Leslie Stephen, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Gissing and J. M. Barrie. His contemporary Sir Arthur Conan Doyle paid him homage in the short-story "The Boscombe Valley Mystery," when Sherlock Holmes says to Dr. Watson during the discussion of the case, "And now let us talk about George Meredith, if you please, and we shall leave all minor matters until to-morrow." Oscar Wilde, in his dialogue "The Decay of L [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Antiquarian Bookshop]
Last Found On: 2016-04-23           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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