4to., pp. xxii, 69, ; with half-title and a sixteen-page list of 961 subscribers; apart from slight fraying a very good copy, uncut, in original blue-grey wrappers and tan paper spine.
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The Sorrows of Werter: a Poem …
First edition. Amelia Pickering’s ‘melancholy, contemplative poem’ (Todd) was one of a spate of works in English and German founded on Goethe’s novel, including poems by Charlotte Smith and Mary Robinson, both subscribers here. Pickering ‘gives to Charlotte a voice, if rather weakly moralistic, and to Werter suffering which is acute, credible and unhysterical’ (Feminist Companion citing ‘The Sorrows of Young Charlotte: Werter’s English Sisters’, Goethe Yearbook, 1986).
Mary Wollstonecraft, however, was not enthusiastic. ‘To pity Werter we must read the original ... The energy … is lost in this smooth, and even faithful, imitation … Werter is dead from the beginning: we hear his very words; but the spirit which animated them is fled …’ (Analytical Review, January 1789).
Speck Collection 1155.
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Plays and Poems … in two Volumes …
First and only edition of the collected works of William Whitehead, a protégé of Alexander Pope and poet laureate from 1757-85.
SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe.
Second (first published edition) of Shelley’s most provocative poem. The radical bookseller and pirate William Clark came across a copy of the privately-printed first edition in 1821 and brought out this unauthorized text, ‘studious in adhering to the original copy’, printing the notes in French, Latin and Greek in their original language, but helpfully providing a translation for the general reader (statement on page ). There were in fact two versions of Clark’s text, one (as here) with some of the more aggressive passages expurgated, the other printing the poem and notes complete. For his pains Clark (described by Shelley as ‘one of the low booksellers in the Strand’), was prosecuted by the Society for the Prevention of Vice and imprisoned for four months.