London: Henry Frowde, Oxford University Press, 1911. First Edition. Hardcover. Octavo size, 552 pp. Near fine. Item #33330244
First edition of the first book published by Walter Yeeling Evans-Wentz (1878-1965) who is best remembered for his studies on Tibetan Buddhism and the subsequent publication of "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" in 1927. Of German-Irish descent, Evans-Wentz studied religion, philosophy and history at Stanford University and was deeply influenced by visitors such as W. B. Yeats (who is one of the two dedicatees in this book). He then attended Oxford and studied Celtic Mythology and Folklore, performing ethnographic fieldwork collecting fairy folklore in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, Brittany, and the Isle of Man. In 1911 Evans-Wentz published his degree thesis as this book which has gone through numerous reprintings, at least as recently as 1977.
___DESCRIPTION: Full evergreen ribbed cloth, gilt vignette to the front with various symbols contained within a wheel, including a shamrock, thistle and the Welsh dragon; the spine has a gilt vignette of the rising sun within Stonehenge and gilt lettering; top edge gilt; the front pastedown has the private library stamp of the Sufi temple from whom we acquired the book; frontispiece a vintage photograph of the stones of Carnac in 1909, title page in red and black, nine-page Index at the rear; octavo size (just over 8.5" tall), pagination: (i)-xxviii, (1)-524.
___CONDITION: The book is now near fine; when acquired it had several condition issues which we had addressed by a professional restorer (name available upon request). The volume has a strong, square text block, solid hinges, perfectly straight corners with no rubbing, and the interior is clean and bright; the gilt design on the front cover was bright and unrubbed when we acquired the book and remains lovely; the gilt on the spine was nearly as bright, alas, there was a chip at the head of the spine which our restorer replaced to protect the text block, but the very top edge of the first word ("The") of the title on the spine was lost. Remaining condition issues are a few stray marks to the binding and some private library markings (stamped and hand-written) on the front and rear pastedowns, and one number on the front free endpaper (please see pictures and request more if needed); one can also just see where the necessary restoration work was done to the spine, joints, and edges.
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