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SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe.

Posthumous Poems.

London: Printed for John and Henry L. Hunt, 1824 Stock Code: 141182
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In a beautiful Zaehnsdorf binding, with fin-de-siècle provenance

First edition, first issue (without errata slip), in a very striking binding by Zaehnsdorf with their gilt stamp to the rear pastedown denoting exhibition-worthy work, and with appealing fin-de-siècle provenance (see below).

Edited by Mary Shelley, this collection contains hitherto unpublished poems - Julian and Maddalo (with its evocation of Byron), The Witch of Atlas, and The Triumph of Life foremost among the longer works - fragments and translations (from Homer, Euripides, Calderon, Goethe and Moschus), and Alastor, previously published in 1816. The collection is prefaced by Mary's moving account of her husband's life and work. Mary had difficulty finding a publisher until Thomas Lovell Beddoes, Bryant Waller Proctor ("Barry Cornwall"), Thomas Forbes Kelsall and Nicholas Waller agreed to stand guarantors for 250 copies. After publication, Sir Timothy Shelley withdrew the allowance he had made to her son Percy Florence, demanded the volume be withdrawn and the remaining 191 unsold copies be destroyed, and attempted to prohibit her from publishing P. B. Shelley's works or bringing the Shelley name to public attention again.

This copy has a pleasing turn-of-the-century provenance, first with the ownership inscription of Walter Spindler on the first binder's blank dated 1894. Walter E. Spindler (1878-1940) was an artist active in the 1890s and notable for his portraits of French actress Sarah Bernhardt. Spindler inscribed this copy in the subsequent year "To John Oliver Hobbes from her always affectionate friend W.S., Old Park, March 1895" and added three lines of poetry quoting Shelley on the second blank. "John Oliver Hobbes" was the pen-name of the prominent writer Pearl Mary Teresa Craigie (nèe Richards, 1867-1906), whose 1891 debut Some Emotions and a Moral was a best-selling sensation. She was a popular socialite and associated with Aubrey Beardsley, George Moore, Ellen Terry, and the like.

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Octavo (209 x 130 mm). Finely bound in early 1890s by Zaehnsdorf in full tan morocco, spine and sides richly gilt with foliate and floral tooling, the floral motifs worked with coloured morocco onlay, turn-ins richly gilt-rolled, blue silk endpapers, all edges gilt.


Superficial rubbing along front joint but the binding sound, light rubbing to ends and corners, leather somewhat darkened to spine and around board edges, title page a little toned, some minor spotting within, very good condition.


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