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[BRADLEY, Katharine, & Edith Cooper.] FIELD, Michael.

Poems of Adoration.

London & Edinburgh, Sands & Co., [1912] Stock Code: 134560
£500.00

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Notes

First edition of this collaboration by Edith Emma Cooper and her aunt and sometime lover Katharine Harris Bradley, pseudonymously-published as Michael Field. Their first publication as "Michael Field", Callirhoë (1884), was publicly well-received, with The Spectator greeting it "as a work of 'great promise', exhibiting 'the true poetic and dramatic fire'" and later asking, "will the pseudonym of 'Michael Field' become greater even than that of 'George Eliot'?" (Blain, p. 247). Although contemporary admirers of their work included writers such as Robert Browning, George Meredith and Algernon Charles Swinburne, until very recently their work was not widely critically studied. Whilst Cooper and Bradley's work was highly collaborative (both sharing in tasks such as editing and proofing) it was not, however, homogenous, and the present collection of Catholic lyric poetry is believed to have been composed predominantly by Edith (18621913). It was Cooper's final authorial contribution to the pair's work, the majority of which was written from her sickbed (she died shortly after the work's publication). Despite explicitly identifying first as atheists (1877) and later as pagans (1897), the two converted to Catholicism in 1907, and this work stands as part of "the core of their religious writing" in which the poems "establish a new religious identity" (Thain & Vadillo, p. 161). Cooper initiated the move, and Bradley (18461914) devotedly followed. The conversion put a definitive end to their earlier sexual relationship which had already diminished subsequent to Oscar Wilde's trial and the ensuing outpouring of cultural homophobia in 1895.

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Description

Octavo. Original purple cloth, titles to spine in gilt, front cover elaborately blocked in gilt with art nouveau iconographic design by Charles Ricketts, edges untrimmed.

Condition

Spine lightly faded, minor rubbing to extremities, boards slightly bowed, very occasional foxing to contents, central vertical crease from production fault to pp. 41-2; a very good copy indeed.

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