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Observations and Reflections made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany
London: A. Strahan and T. Cadell,, 1789. 2 volumes octavo (215 × 134 mm ). Attractive contemporary provincial full calf, black morocco lettering-pieces, red morocco numbering-pieces, compartments gilt, edges gilt milled. A little rubbed, the corners bumped, light browning, overall a very good set. First edition. Account by Dr. Johnson's close friend and correspondent of her honeymoon, following her second marriage to Italian singer Gabriel Mario Piozzi. "Having been satirised as a diminutive creature riding to literary acclaim on the gigantic shoulders of Johnsonian erudition, Hester herself was only too aware of the anxiety of influence. In the entertaining and important travel journal Observations and Reflections …, her first work not to fall under the long shadow of Johnson, she built upon previous experimentation by using an authoritative but conversational discourse, alive with present-tense immediacy, to erode the barriers between diary and travel narrative. Her delight in Piozzi and in Italy was everywhere apparent in the materials she included in this development of the genre, which subverted masculine tropes of the grand tourist as disillusioned and hard to please. Sympathetically depicting Italian life as a 'demi-naturalized' wife, she substituted involvement for prejudice, and satirised (as a Welshwoman) the English habit of ridiculing that which it finds disconcertingly unfamiliar. By the middle of July the queen was reading Observations and Reflections to Frances Burney to their mutual delight" (ODNB). Attractive contemporary armorial bookplates of Edward Parker of Browsholme "in the Country of York".
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2015-06-09           Check availability:      Biblio    

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