(London: Reeves & Turner, 1902). 228 x 152 mm. (9 x 6"). Four volumes. Edited by William Carew Hazlitt.

QUITE ATTRACTIVE CRIMSON HALF MOROCCO BY RIVIERE & SON for the McDevitt-Wilson Bookshop (signed on front flyleaf of each volume), lighter red linen sides, raised bands, spines gilt in compartments with floral centerpiece, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, other edges rough trimmed. Three illustrations in the text, fold-out facsimile letter, frontispiece in each volume. Title page printed in red and black. Hint of soiling to leather, a touch of rubbing to joints of volume IV, a couple of negligible nicks to binding, but A FINE SET, the bindings unusually bright, and especially clean, bright, and fresh internally.

The influential "Essays" of Michel de Montaigne (1533-92) were universally read and praised as one of the great books of the 16th century, and they continue to be regarded as one of the major explorations, from any period, of human nature through self-examination. Among others, the 17th century British literary figures most in the tradition of Montaigne include Walton, Browne, and Burton. All three later writers shared the Frenchman's approach of purportedly illuminating all of humanity by writing about oneself. The present classic and admirable translation is by Charles Cotton (1630-87), whose name will always be linked with that of his great friend Izaak Walton because of their collaboration on "The Compleat Angler." But Cotton was an important Caroline poet in his own right who numbered among his friends Ben Jonson and Donne as well as Walton. The heir to a good estate, Cotton never undertook any profession other than literature, and while he was not really prolific, he left a substantial body of work that has always been appreciated, particularly by the Romantics. In the world of British letters, our editor William Hazlitt (1778-1830) was a memorable figure whose essays and criticism were of the greatest importance, even if his literary pronouncements were sometimes colored by the degree to which a writer's political beliefs were aligned with his own.

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PJP Catalog: RCVF20.035


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