EMERSON, RALPH WALDO.
COMPLETE WORKS.(Cambridge, Massachusetts: Riverside Press, 1883). 254 x 152 mm (10 x 6"). 11 volumes.. "Riverside Edition." ONE OF 500 COPIES.
VERY ATTRACTIVE GREEN STRAIGHT-GRAIN MOROCCO (stamp-signed "Hatchards of Piccadilly" on front turn-in), covers with border of two gilt fillets, wide raised bands decorated with floral ornaments and three gilt rules, ruled gilt compartments with large fleuron centerpiece, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, other edges rough trimmed. Two frontispiece portraits. A Large Paper copy. Front pastedown of each copy with the engraved armorial bookplate of Henry Martin Gibbs of Barrow Court, Flax Bourton, Somerset. BAL 5414 (but with variant date of publication as 1884 for Volumes IX-XI). Backstrips uniformly faded to a pleasing caramel color, top of one spine slightly rubbed, three or four joints with trivial wear, three corners a bit bumped, endpapers (of a different stock from the text) somewhat foxed, otherwise QUITE AN APPEALING SET, the leather lustrous, the wear insignificant, and the text especially bright, fresh, and clean.
Generally recognized as the major transcendentalist figure in American literature, Emerson (1803-82) was an essayist, poet, orator, philosopher, and abolitionist whose writings and speeches emphasized the importance of accepting the notions of self-examination and self-reliant individualism. His essay entitled "Nature" immediately became known as the Bible of American transcendentalism after its publication in 1836, and a year later, his Phi Beta Kappa address at Harvard, "The American Scholar," was hailed as an intellectual declaration of independence, calling as it did for the "overleaping [of] convention and institution to achieve independent, individual, creative effort." (Day) Emerson's journals, begun in 1820 and added to throughout his life, formed an important adjunct to his active production in other genres. The present finely bound set is a handsomely produced edition on excellent textured paper with vast margins. Auction records list an undated [1883-93] "Riverside Edition" in 12 volumes, but our Large Paper Copy, dated 1883 in each volume, seems to be different and complete in 11 volumes. In any case, it has been so little used that the volumes open unwillingly. (ST11371)