(London: James Cochrane and Co., 1834). 170 x 103 mm. (6 5/8 x 4"). Eight volumes. With a biographical sketch by Allan Cunningham. First Printing of this Edition.
Especially attractive contemporary navy half calf over marbled boards, raised bands, spines gilt in scalloped compartments, one blue and one red morocco label, marbled endpapers and edges. One folding manuscript facsimile ("The Blue-eyed Lass") and 17 engraved plates (including one plate with profile and seal of Burns, and eight engraved title pages and frontispieces). Gibson, pp. 46-47; Lowndes I, 326. Paper on a couple of boards very lightly chafed, one page with ink smudge from printing process (not affecting text), other trivial imperfections, but AN EXTREMELY PRETTY SET IN OUTSTANDING CONDITION, the text immaculate, and the bindings absolutely sparkling.
This lovely set of the Scottish bard's writings has seen virtually no use, and looks as if it left the bindery yesterday. Published on a monthly basis, beginning in January 1834, this edition was intended to fill six volumes, but in the course of publication, enough poems, letters, and anecdotes were discovered to expand the work to eight. Our editor, Allan Cunningham, whose satisfaction with his work seems to subdue his modesty, says in a note at the beginning of the final volume, "I am not unconscious of having given to the world the most complete and elegant edition which has hitherto appeared of the works of Robert Burns." Indeed, some 100 pieces are added in this edition to the Burns corpus. Like Burns, Cunningham (1784-1842) was a Scot, a man of the people (beginning as a stonemason's assistant), and a poet. He was also a novelist, and he wrote a biography of Sir David Wilkie. There is much in our set beyond the poems: Cunningham's biography of Burns fills the first volume, there is a very ample glossary in the final volume, and Burns' letters fill two complete volumes and much of a third. This is not a particularly uncommon work, but it is rare to see any set from the 1830s in the near-pristine condition found here. (ST15273)
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PJP Catalog: Sets1.041