(London: [Printed by Charles Whittingham at the Chiswick Press for] C. Kegan Paul & Co. 1880). 204 x 131 mm. (8 x 5 1/4"). 1 p.l. (limitation), 281,  pp. No. 39 OF 50 LARGE PAPER COPIES, signed by the printer.
VERY ATTRACTIVE CITRON CRUSHED MOROCCO, GILT, BY ZAEHNSDORF (stamp-signed on front doublure and with the firm's stamp on rear free endleaf), covers with mitered gilt frame enclosing large cornerpieces filled with swirling vines of azured gilt, the whole around an ovoid central panel featuring a gilt arabesque of delicate interlacing, flat spine tooled with curling azured gilt vines, gilt titling, BURGUNDY POLISHED CALF DOUBLURES tooled with a gilt strapwork design similar to the covers and framed by densely gilt turn-ins incorporating still more swirling vines, burgundy watered silk endleaves with gilt fleuron at corners, top edge gilt. With engraved frontispiece portrait. A Large Paper Copy. Spine slightly and evenly sun-darkened, a hint of rubbing along bottom edge, otherwise VERY FINE, the binding lustrous and scarcely worn, and the text clean, fresh, and bright, with immense margins.
This is a famous poet's most famous poem, beautifully printed and offered here in a very well-preserved, exuberantly decorated binding. First published in 1850, the present elegy is a tribute to Tennyson's college friend, Arthur Henry Hallam (1811-33), son of the famous historian Henry Hallam (1777-1859). Tennyson's first verses had been published before he was 20, but after Hallam's death, he published nothing for nine years, although all the while he was working on this poem, the product of protracted meditation. Written in rhyming quatrains, the poem moves from grief and doubt to certainty that the universe is purposeful. It was a sensational best-seller, striking a deep note of resonance with Victorian readers and the queen herself, who told the poet that "Next to the Bible, 'In Memoriam' is my comfort." Thomson says that the work "has been discussed from every point of view--proof of the profound influence it exercised over English thought for half a century." The work had major repercussions in Tennyson's professional and personal lives. It inspired Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria, to petition that its author be named Poet Laureate of the realm, to succeed the recently deceased Wordsworth. And it left Tennyson financially secure enough to enter the married life, a step that had been delayed for 10 years for pecuniary reasons. Our Large Paper Copy has margins occupying more than twice as much area as the text and is printed with Whittingham's usual excellence on thick, creamy paper. There is a hint of the Moorish in the intricately gilt binding, which sports the exhibition stamp that one invariably sees on especially fine work from the Zaehnsdorf workshop. (ST12915)
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PJP Catalog: 72.148