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CLARENDON, Edward Hyde, Earl of.

The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England,

begun in the year 1641. With the precedent Passages, and Actions, that contributed thereunto, and the happy End, and Conclusion thereof by the King's blessed Restoration, and Return upon the 29th of May, in the Year 1660; [Together with:] The Life of Edward Earl of Clarendon, Lord High Chancellor of England, and Chancellor of the University of Oxford... Written by himself.

Oxford, printed at the Theatre, [Life: at the Clarendon House], 1707, & 1759 [Life] Stock Code: 138605
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Second folio edition of the History, large paper issue; together with the first edition of Clarendon's autobiography, also a large paper issue; all uncut, and uniformly bound in an imposing Victorian binding. Originally written in the 1640s and revised in 1671, the history was first published in folio between 1702 and 1704, and in octavo from 1705 to 1706, thereafter being an essential component of a gentleman's library for the next 200 years. Clarendon's great History has "remained in the mind because of his literary achievement - the fashioning of the most sophisticated and finely balanced history yet written in English (or written for a long time afterwards) - and for an unmistakable rhetorical voice. Clarendon's writings - and his own life - were steeped in the literary stoicism of the early seventeenth century; but in the History he created a distinctive work of art based on a highly wrought style, a forensic dissection of character and issue, and a sense of the depth of individuals' moral responsibility for their action" (ODNB). Clarendon wrote his autobiography in France after fleeing the country following his impeachment in 1667; it was edited and published by his heirs, from the manuscripts in the collection of the University of Oxford.

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Together 4 volumes, folio (485 x 305 mm). Uncut in 19th-century half vellum, red morocco labels lettered in gilt, marbled sides and endpapers.


Engraved portrait frontispieces, engraved headpieces and tailpieces and initial letters throughout.


Neat early ownership signature of J. Newton to front endpapers. Labels a little rubbed with slight age toning to vellum, third volume with hinges expertly repaired, short split at foot of rear joint of third volume, very sporadic worming to a few margins, faint stain to half-title of Life, toning and foxing to endpapers and facing leaves but otherwise contents clean. A handsome set.


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