(BINDINGS - ROOT & SON). GOLDSMITH, OLIVER.
THE WORKS.(London: John Murray, 1878). 229 x 149 mm (9 x 5 7/8"). Four volumes. Edited by Peter Cunningham.
Excellent highly polished calf, attractively gilt, by Root & Son (stamp-signed on verso of front free endpaper), covers bordered by triple gilt fillet with rosette cornerpieces, raised bands, spines gilt in compartments with trefoil cornerpieces on a stippled ground, each spine with three morocco titling labels (one olive and two burgundy), densely gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt. Leaves mostly UNOPENED. With extra engraved title page (dated 1854) featuring a village vignette. Slight wear to joints and extremities, a couple of small scratches to covers, but a fine set, the attractive bindings lustrous and generally well preserved, and the obviously unread text with virtually no signs of use.
This is generally considered the best edition of Goldsmith, offered here in an attractively bound set produced by a first-rate binder. Oliver Goldsmith (1730-74) was Irish born and educated at Dublin, before studying in Edinburgh and Leyden, where he seems to have been granted a medical degree. Unsuccessful as a London physician, Goldsmith turned to a life of miscellaneous writing, churning out books and essays for the publishers. He first met Dr. Johnson in 1761, and they became boon companions. Boswell describes Goldsmith as gauche, hapless, and a prattler, but clearly Johnson found the man amusing and lovable. And he was both talented and popular as a writer. His best-known works, both of them classics, are "She Stoops to Conquer" (a comedy about an awkward fellow who prefers the company of barmaids to ladies) and "The Vicar of Wakefield" (a novel with a hero as mild-mannered, garrulous, and improvident as the author himself). Dickens' novels--with their memorable characterizations, many coincidences of plot, and sympathy for the unfortunate--show the deep influence of Goldsmith. First issued in 1854, the present edition was the most complete and correct issued up to that time and the first to contain Goldsmith's letters; it also has some of the essays in two forms--as first published and with the author's final revisions and corrections. (ST11462a-040)