2 vols., 8vo., with a half-title in each volume; a very good, crisp copy in contemporary calf, gilt, covers scraped, spine labels defective; contemporary ownership signature.
Added to your basket:
British Synonymy; or, an Attempt at regulating the Choice of Words in familiar Conversation. Inscribed, with Sentiments of Gratitude and Respect, to such of her foreign Friends as have made English Literature their peculiar Study … In two Volumes …
First edition of a fascinating collection of short essays on synonyms, intended as a help to her husband and his foreign friends. Mrs. Piozzi began work on her Synonymy in early 1792, and by August was hard at the grindstone: ‘ten pages o’ Day copying, besides a little Composition now and then to stretch and swell … I should like to make it two thin Octavos like Brown’s Estimate and sell it like Merlin as dear as I can’ (letter to Queeney of 22 August). Through her friend Arthur Murphy, the Robinsons eventually offered £300 for the manuscript, requiring 400 pages per volume, and the work, delayed by Mr. Piozzi’s gout, appeared in April 1794 (and was devoured by Horace Walpole by the 16th of that month – Hazen 3254).
The work is engaging if not erudite, ‘intended chiefly for a parlour window, and acknowledging itself unworthy of a place on a library shelf’, but its greatest interest lies in the wealth of anecdotal material with which Mrs. Piozzi illustrates elegant, proper usage. Johnson is mentioned some fifty times – his Dictionary and his witty conversation both being obvious reference points – and a passage on ‘coming of age’ features the first full printing of his verses to Sir John Lade, written in 1780.
Alston, III, 524; Fleeman, 94.4PBS/1a.
You may also be interested in...
INSCRIBED LEWIS, Wyndham.
The Lion and the Fox. The Role of the Hero in the Plays of Shakespeare …
Reprint of the second edition of Lewis’s ‘first political book’, a collection of essays engaging with Shakespeare and Machiavelli first published in 1927 and then reissued by Methuen in 1951; inscribed in a very shaky hand ‘To Geoffrey Bridson from Wyndham / Oct 1956’.
‘The Lion and the Fox is shot through with original thinking on every subject that it takes up … The tone of the book is distinctly liberal, and its attitude towards the concept of despotic rule is one of suspicion and antipathy’ (Bridson, The Filibuster).
Laid in loose is a 1-leaf typescript of two sections from pp. 83-4 and 89-90 of ‘The Foxes’ Case’ by Lewis, published in The Calendar of Modern Letters 2:8 (October 1925), with a few corrections in pen and the note ‘original copy checked with DGB’ at the foot. The article included several passages subsequently incorporated into The Lion and the Fox.
See Bridson, ‘That Notorious Machiavel’, The Filibuster, pp. 1-18. Pound & Grover A6c note; Morrow & Lafourcade A7c note.
PRE-PUBLICATION COPY, INSCRIBED LEWIS, Wyndham.
The Writer and the Absolute …
First edition, inscribed ‘To my dear friend Geoffrey Bridson / Wyndham Lewis / 25 June 1952’. The work was published the following day.