POETICAL WORKS OF MATTHEW ARNOLD.

(London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1901). 190 x 121 mm. (7 1/2 x 4 3/4"). xii, [2], 510 pp.

VERY PRETTY OLIVE GREEN MOROCCO, GILT, BY BUMPUS (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with gilt rule border, upper cover semé with tiny dots, floral spray cornerpieces connected by two curving rules that form a central mandola containing gilt lettering, raised bands, spine in gilt-ruled compartments with three flowers on curving stems, gilt lettering, gilt-ruled turn-ins with floral cornerpieces, all edges gilt. Engraved frontispiece portrait of the poet, with original tissue guard. Engraved calling card of Rev. R. Percy Thompson with presentation inscription laid in at front. Front pastedown and free endpaper with faint offsetting suggesting formerly laid-in bookplate or note. ◆Spine evenly sunned to hazel brown, free endpapers with offsetting from turn-ins (as often), but A FINE COPY, clean, fresh, and bright internally, in a virtually unworn binding.

This is a handsomely bound collection of the works by a writer generally ranked (along with Tennyson and Browning) as one of the three great Victorian poets. Day observes that Arnold (1822-88) "seeks rather desperately for individual meaning and purpose" amid the isolation of "industrialization and bourgeois democracy," and suggests that this is the reason that his work was less popular in his day than that of Tennyson and Browning, but "has in the 20th century enjoyed the best reception . . . . Our own troubled and unresolved mind discovers greater kinship with him." According to DNB, our author wrote nearly all of his best-known verse by the time he turned 30: "He lived the greater part of his adult life knowing that, as the prefatory poem to his 1867 collection put it, 'the Muse [had] gone away.'" After this desertion, Arnold turned his attention to criticism, where in the words of DNB, he earned his "pedestal among the immortals" through his influence on the study and teaching of English literature in the U.S. and Britain. The very attractive binding here was done for the bookselling firm of John and Edward Bumpus, founded in 1780. Bumpus long enjoyed a reputation as purveyors of fine and beautiful bindings without ever operating a bindery. Instead, they outsourced the work to the best binders of the day, including Morrell (perhaps the binder here), Sangorski & Sutcliffe, and Riviere.
(ST17596)

Price: $1,950.00