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SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe.

The Revolt of Islam; a poem, in twelve cantos.

Availability: In stock

Published: London for C. and J. Ollier; by B. McMillan, 1818

Stock Code: 119676

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


First edition thus, in lovely condition uncut in the boards. The Revolt of Islam is the expurgated reissue of Laon & Cythna (1817) with a new title and 26 cancelled leaves. In 1817 the Olliers agreed to publish Shelley's long poem, Laon and Cythna. Shelley's new father in law, William Godwin, recommended a master printer for the job, Buchanan Millan, who made minor alterations to the text without consulting the poet. Shelley wrote to the Olliers complaining about these liberties, whereupon the Olliers read the work for the first time and realised what they had agreed to publish. In the original version the titular lovers were brother and sister. London was alive with gossip about Shelley living with both Mary Godwin and her half-sister Claire Clairmont, and in contemporary usage, such a ménage was termed incest (St. Clair, The Godwins and the Shelleys, p. 432.) Shelley was forced to make alterations, removing any hint of incest, and gave it the new title The Revolt of Islam. The book is made up from original sheets of Laon and Cythna, with 26 cancelled leaves and a new title leaf. A few copies were issued with the title misdated 1817; this is the second issue as usual, with the correct date. Copies in boards are scarce (due in part to the predilection of late 19th-century collectors for lavish rebindings), and this is a lovely example, with the bookplates of two notable bibliophiles, Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919 - he was also a pre-Raphaelite painter), and Willis Vickery (18571932, an American Judge).

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Octavo (225 x 137 mm). Original boards, title label to spine (priced 10s 6d), untrimmed. Housed in a blue cloth folding case.


No half-title called for; with fly-title quoting Chapman, and errata leaf.


Very discreet repair to joints, extremities rubbed, some light marks and spots, hinges superficially cracked but holding fine, title page a little toned otherwise remarkably fresh within, front free endpaper with tiny section of loss to top fore-corner and small closed tear repaired at outer margin. An excellent copy.


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