Scenes of Clerical Life.Edinburgh & London : 1858 Stock Code: 129683
NotesFirst edition in book form of George Eliot's first published work, three stories that had previously been serialized in Blackwood's Magazine the previous year. Association copy, being the copy, specially bound with his armorial wheat device, of Richard Monckton Milnes, 1st Baron Houghton (1809-1885), politician, writer, poet, and friend of George Eliot. "Nothing has been said as yet in this memoir of Lord Houghton's friendship for the eminent author who is known to us as George Eliot. It was, however, very real. He had been one of those who from the first had recognised the brilliant talents of the writer of "Scenes of Clerical Life" and after her identity had been revealed, he was one of the chosen few who knew her intimately in private life" (T. Wemyss Reid, The Life, Letters, and Friendships of Richard Monckton Milnes, vol. II, 1890, p. 376). Well-established in literary circles, Houghton was an early champion of Swinburne, secured a pension for Tennyson, and popularised the works of Emerson in Britain, alongside publishing two volumes of poetry in 1838, and a Life and Letters of Keats in 1848, based on the material of Keats's friend Charles Armitage Brown. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to marry Florence Nightingale, and surprised many by bequeathing to the British Library a vast collection of erotic literature, despite his pious life. Also with the bookplate of his son Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe (1858-1945), the accomplished Liberal statesman who served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1892 to 1895, Leader of the House of Lords from 1908 to 1916, Secretary of State for India from 1910 to 1915, and as Lord President of the Council from 1915 to 1916.
2 volumes, octavo (192 x 117 mm). Contemporary half calf, red morocco label to spines, red cloth sides, gilt wheat device to covers, light green endpapers.
Half-titles present. Spines lightly darkened, slight rubbing around front joint of vol. I, light foxing to initial and final leaves, slight cockling and occasional creasing at head of some pages. A very good copy.
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