The Posthumous Papers, Facetious and Fanciful, of a Person Lately about Town.
First edition. A highly prolific, and modestly successful,l poet and essayist, Webb’s, (1789–1858), “place in literary history is due chiefly to an unfortunate association with Keats. A quotation from a poem by Webb, now lost, referring to ‘Keats, / The Muses’s son of promise’ and placing Keats, with Hunt, alongside ‘Chaucer, Spenser, Shakspeare, Milton’, headed the first of John Gibson Lockhart’s savage articles entitled ‘The cockney school of poetry’ in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine. In a letter to Benjamin Bailey Keats alludes with some bitterness to the ‘Motto from one Cornelius Webb Poetaster’, whose effusion provided so convenient a starting point for Lockhart’s ridicule. Thenceforward, ‘Corny’ Webb was frequently linked with ‘Johnny’ Keats as belonging to a new urban breed of writers, marked by the absurdity of their pretensions, the vulgarity of their productions, and the effeminacy of their style” (ODNB). A few neat pencilled notes making comparisons to versions published earlier in the New Monthly Magazine, and making reference to Keats, Leigh Hunt, and Wainewright. Webb died impoverished in the Charterhouse in 1858. Armorial bookplate of Mary Stephenson to the front pastedown.
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Octavo (179 110 mm). Contemporary half calf, marbled boards, red morocco label, rebacked with the original spine laid down. Frontispiece engraved by William Heath after his own drawing and 5 other similar plates. Somewhat rubbed, through at the corners, hinges a little clumsily repaired, light toning, some off-setting from the plates, remains overall very good.