London and New York: Harper & Brothers, 1898. Hardy, Thomas. First Edition. Hardcover. First printing of this collection (see details below), octavo size, 240 pp., in the "presentation" binding. Near fine. Item #210503025
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was one of Britain's most influential Victorian novelists and poets; D. H. Lawrence wrote a study of Hardy, and he was the basis for the character of Edward Driffield in W. Somerset Maugham's "Cakes and Ale". He wrote of tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances and was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Literature. In addition to being a writer of prose, he was a prolific poet; from 1898 until his death in 1928 Hardy published eight volumes of poetry, with about one thousand poems published in his lifetime (n. b., above information from Wiki and the Poetry Foundation website).
This volume of Hardy's poems contains poems which, with the exception of four previously published, were first published here; as Hardy noted in the Preface, "many were written long ago, and others party written..[i]n some few cases the verses were turned into prose and printed as such, it having been unanticipated at that time that they might see the light" (p. vii).
Per the Hardy bibliography, while "Wessex Poems" was published in dark green ribbed cloth with top edge gilt, there was "[a]lso issued [a] presentation form, bound in cream-coloured buckram....[with] all edges gilt", of which this copy is one.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full cream buckram, circular gilt decoration on the front board enclosing the initials "TH", gilt lettering and small decoration on the spine, all edges gilt, tissue-guarded frontispiece a full-page illustration, publisher's device on the title page, an additional thirty illustrations throughout (twelve being full-page, the remainder head- and tailpieces), the bibliography notes that while the title page states "With Thirty Illustrations By the Author" there are in fact thirty-one including the frontis; octavo size (7 7/8" by 5 3/4"), pagination: [i-vi] vii-xii,  2-228.
___CONDITION: Near fine overall; the buckram boards clean (although toned), the gilt edges bright, the corners straight with a hint of rubbing, a strong square text block with solid hinges, internally clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; the buckram toned to a light brown on the spine, also toned on the front (lighter around the gilt medallion), and toned unevenly on the back board, head and tail of spine bumped with a very small (less than a quarter-inch) tear to the cloth at the head of the spine, endpapers toned, and the tissue guard over the frontis having had the top corner previously "dog-eared" which caused an irregular toning to the frontis and title page (in the pictures they appear dog-eared, but they are not - it is the toning); still overall a lovely example.
___CITATION: Webb p. 33.
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