The Poetical Works.
Edited by Mrs. Shelley.London: Edward Moxton, 1839 Stock Code: 146618
The first edition of Shelley's collected poems, in a fine bindingFirst collected edition, handsomely bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe. Mary Shelley's collected edition of her husband's poetical works established Shelley finally and irreversibly amongst the great poets of the English language.
Pirate editions of Shelley's works had persuaded his father, Sir Timothy, that all hope of obscurity had passed, and Mary was allowed to prepare a proper edition provided there was only a minimum of biographical information. "Mary Shelley brought Shelley into the mainstream of the national culture. He was no longer the author of a notorious banned poem Queen Mab only obtainable from shops specializing in blasphemy, sedition and advice on birth control. He was the prophet of Prometheus Unbound, one of the most ambitious attempts ever made to uplift life by literature, and of other works such as the "Ode to the West Wind"... The notes that Mary added are masterpieces of editing, adding so immeasurably to the reader's understanding that nobody would now consider printing Shelley's poems without them" (St Clair, p. 492).
4 volumes, octavo (166 x 106 mm). Finely bound by Sangorksi & Sutcliffe in late 19th century blue calf, raised bands, twin red morocco labels, spines lettered and decorated in gilt, covers and edges ruled in gilt, turn-ins rolled in gilt, top edges gilt, marbled endpapers.
Engraved portrait frontispiece to vol. I, with tissue guard.
Vol. I with rear cover slightly sunned and front inner hinge cracked but firm, vol. II spine headcap slightly chipped. Spines lightly faded, tips somewhat worn, occasional spot of foxing to contents, overall quite clean, small mark to first few pages of vol. IV. A very good set, attractively bound.
Dunbar, Shelley Studies 345; Granniss 88; Wise, p. 87; St Clair, The Godwins and the Shelleys: The Biography of a Family, 1989.
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