(London: Saunders and Otley, 1838). 201 x 124 mm. (8 x 4 7/8"). xii, 310 pp. First English Trade Edition.
VERY PRETTY DARK GREEN CRUSHED MOROCCO, GILT AND INLAID IN AN ARTS & CRAFT DESIGN, BY BAYNTUN for C. E. Lauriat (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with frame of intricately interlacing gilt fillets, corners with inlaid blossoms of orange morocco, raised bands, spine compartments with a simplified version of the frame and an inlaid blossom centerpiece, gilt titling, turn-ins with gilt fillet frame, ornamental cornerpieces, dark green watered silk endleaves, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. Author's name added to title page in pencil in a 19th century hand. Grolier English 79. Spine uniformly sunned to hazel brown (as very often with green morocco), isolated mild thumbing, corner creases, or trivial marginal spots, but a fine copy, clean and fresh internally, and in an unworn, gleaming binding.
Beautifully bound by one of the great English binderies, this uncategorizable work reminiscent of satires by Swift and Sterne was described by Day as combining "an intellectual and spiritual autobiography and a diatribe against current conditions in England." First published in serial form in Fraser's Magazine in 1833-34, it originally appeared in book form in Boston in 1836 and was soon discovered by the American Transcendentalists. The latter were inspired by its advocacy for a reorganization of society and its institutions, so that "Brotherhood and the duty to work usefully will grip mankind's true leaders and assure a theocracy, a reborn humanity ruled by the divine spirit within." (Day) By the 1840s, largely on the strength of "Sartor Resartus" ["The Tailor Retailored"], Carlyle (1795-1881) became one of the leading literary figures in Britain. The title is "a philosophical play on the notion that clothes either do or do not make the man, on Carlyle devising a new, better garment for contemporary society, and on the relationship between the material and the spiritual." (DNB) The binding is a good example of the excellent handiwork typical of the Bayntun firm, founded in Bath in 1894 and now the last of the great Victorian trade binderies still in family ownership. (ST16369c)
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PJP Catalog: 78.167