(London: Privately printed, 1833). 220 x 130 mm. (8 5/8 x 5 1/4"). lxxxvii, , 279,  pp.Translated and with notes by Abraham Hayward. FIRST EDITION of the First English Prose Translation.
Excellent contemporary navy blue straight-grain morocco, covers framed by blind floral roll and gilt fillets, with curling cornerpieces, smooth spine tooled in gilt into geometric compartments, gilt titling, turn-ins with gilt roll, all edges gilt. A Large Paper Copy. Front flyleaf inscribed by the translator to Benjamin Willoughby. Lower corners a bit rubbed, a couple of faint abrasions to covers, but A FINE COPY--the wide-margined text extraordinarily clean, fresh, and bright, and in a scarcely worn, lustrous binding.
This is a handsome copy of a highly acclaimed translation of "Faust," in a binding probably commissioned for presentation by the translator. An attorney with an abiding interest in literature, Hayward (1801-84) is described by DNB as "a self-made man of letters." He became interested in German literature while travelling in Germany, where he met associates of Goethe. Wishing to share with his friends the beauty of Goethe's masterpiece retelling the legend of a man who sells his immortal soul to the devil for temporary worldly gratification, he produced this prose translation, but only for private circulation; he was convinced by impressed recipients to publish it for sale. It was a great success, bringing him praise at home and abroad, taking him from the practice of law to a career as a respected critic and translator, and fulfilling his ambition of popularizing German works. The printer selected by the author used a high quality of paper for this first edition (or at least for this special copy), and the contents are remarkably free of the browning and foxing found in so many 19th century books. The binding here is not signed, but the style and the quality of the workmanship suggest a first-rate London atelier. (ST15544)
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PJP Catalog: 75.224