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The Poetical Works.
London: Edward Moxon,, 1839. Edited by Mrs. Shelley. 4 volumes, octavo. Original brown ribbed cloth, titles gilt to spine, arabesque panel blind to both boards, yellow coated endpapers. Engraved portrait frontispiece in vol. I, with all the half-titles and advertisements. Illinois bookseller's ticket to each volume. Cloth split at the ends of joints in the first volume, some corners bumped, spines faded, rear board of volume four damp-stained, some other minor marks to covers in the set, internally however remarkably sound and fresh, overall a very good copy. First edition, association copy in the original cloth, of Mary Shelley's collected edition of her husband's poetical works, the first collected edition, which established Shelley finally and irreversibly amongst the great poets of the English language. This copy is inscribed on the front free endpapers of volume one, "To Mrs Beauclerk, from her affectionate Friend Julia Robinson, Feb 2nd 1839". Julia Robinson was a close friend of Mary Shelley in the years after Percy's death, and here she inscribes the book, very early in the year of publication, to one of the Beauclerk family, with whom Mary was also closely connected. She was particularly close to Georgina Beauclerk, and to her brother Major Aubrey Beauclerk, with whom she was deeply in love in 1833, and came close to marrying before he dashed her hopes by marrying another. Pirate editions of Shelley's works had persuaded his father, Sir Timothy, that all hope of obscurity had passed, and Mary was allowed to prepare a proper edition provided there was only a minimum of biographical information. "Mary Shelley brought Shelley into the mainstream of the national culture. He was no longer the author of a notorious banned poem [Queen Mab] only obtainable from shops specializing in blasphemy, sedition and advice on birth control. He was the prophet of Prometheus Unbound, one of the most ambitious attempts ever made to uplift life by literature, and of other works such as the "Ode to the West Wind"... The notes that Mary added are masterpieces of editing, adding so immeasurably to the reader's understanding that nobody would now consider printing Shelley's poems without them" (St Clair).
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2017-02-28           Check availability:      Biblio    


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