12mo., pp xi, , 181, , with half-title and the separate fly-titles to Rhododaphne, each of the seven cantos, and the notes; a particularly fine copy, in contemporary speckled calf, spine gilt; with the bookplate and ownership inscription of Frances Anne Vane Tempest, lady Lady Londonderry.
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Rhododaphne: or the Thessalian Spell. A Poem.
First edition. A mythological narrative set in ancient Thessaly, Rhododaphne tells the story of the shepherd boy Anthemion, in love with the mortal girl Calliroë, and of the nymph Rhododaphne, who carries him off to her enchanted palace. When Rhododaphne is destroyed by Heavenly or Uranian love – pure passion for the good and the beautiful – the mortal lovers are reunited.
Rhododaphne is notable in part for its influence on Keats. ‘The chief characters in Rhododaphne have their counterparts in Lamia’; cantos six and seven, describing an enchanted palace erected by magic and its sumptuous banqueting hall, music and slaves, are clearly echoed ‘by the younger but more gifted poet’; and there are parallels in the theme of conflict between enchantment and reason (Harrold). Mary Shelley transcribed the poem for Peacock in December 1817 (when they were all living at Marlow), and Keats is likely to have read it in manuscript at that time, but it was also in print well before the writing of Lamia. Shelley, too, shared this appreciation for Rhododaphne, and in an enthusiastic review written for The Examiner just before his final departure for Italy but never published, described it as ‘the transfused essence of Lucian, Petronius and Apuleius’.
William E. Harrold, ‘Keats’s Lamia and Peacock’s Rhododaphne’, Modern Language Review, LXI (1966), 579-84; Ashley Library, III, 202.
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IN MEMORY OF HIS DAUGHTERS LA SERRIE, François-Joseph de.
Dithyrambes, ou petites élégies; dédiées à Madame Le Pédour, Annette-Sergent Pain (de Rochefort); par M. de La Serrie (de la Vendée); avec cinq sujets dessinés et gravés soigneusement de sa main.
Very rare first edition of this collection of twenty-one elegies composed by the writer, artist and engraver François-Joseph de La Serrie (1770-1819), largely inspired by the deaths of his two daughters Marie Louise Aspasie, who died aged 15 in 1812, and Marie Rosalie-Cecile Virginie, who passed away three years later at the age of 23. The occasionally moving verse – in élégie XV the author struggles to explain his daughter’s death to his grandson – dwells on the themes of death, sorrow, hope, friendship, prayer and faith. The handsome accompanying plates, also by the author, depict Mary and the infant Jesus, his daughters’ tombs, St Cecilia, and St Similien of Nantes. The notes at the end include interesting passages on ancient libraries and on printers, including praise for the Didot family.
La Serrie’s works – which range across literature, philosophy and art, and include a life of Mary, Queen of Scots – were carefully printed in small numbers and distributed to his friends. This copy was presented by the author to a Madame Gillet.
Only one copy traced on OCLC, at the BnF. Not in Quérard.
AUDEN, W.H. Collected poems.
Edited by Edward Mendelson.
First edition. Denis Healey’s copy, with his signature dated 1976 to front free endpaper, his occasional marginal pencil marks, and a few notes to rear pastedown. Denis Winston Healey, Baron Healey (1917-2015) served as Secretary of State for Defence from 1964 to 1970, Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1974 to 1979 and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1980 to 1983.