(London: John Murray, 1850). 223 x 140 mm. (8 3/4 x 5 1/2"). With the collection title in both volumes but without the vol. II title page ("Lives of the Successors of Mahomet") or the ads bound in. Two works with separate pagination bound in two volumes. First (British?) Edition.
Contemporary polished calf, gilt, covers with double rule borders with floral cornerpieces, raised bands, spine compartments with central floral lozenge surrounded by stars and circles, floral cornerpieces, red and green morocco labels, marbled endpapers and edges. Front pastedown with bookplate of Edward Nicholas Hurt. BAL 10341. Spines lightly and uniformly sunned, otherwise IN EXTRAORDINARILY FINE CONDITION.
This is a beautiful copy of a work by an author characterized by ANB as "the first American to earn a comfortable living by his writing." Although best known for his short stories "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," Washington Irving (1783-1859) also wrote history and historical fiction. His "Life of Mahomet" covers the period from Muhammad's birth in 571 to the Moorish invasion of Spain in 710 A.D. Our copy is in quite remarkable condition, apparently never having been read. BAL 10175 lists this work as volumes XII-XIII in the "Works" of Irving, issued by Putnam in New York in 1850. It is unclear whether the Putnam printing or our Murray edition would have been the first to appear in print. It is obvious that the present volumes were virtually untouched for more than a century and a half. (ST14729c)
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PJP Catalog: 75.227