Newtown, Wales: The Gregynog Press, 1929. Bray, Horace Walter. Limited Edition. Hardcover. Two volumes (complete), no. 34 of 285, octavo size, 488 total pp. Fine. Item #CNJL722
The essays in this collection were first published in "The London Magazine" and brought Charles Lamb (1775-1834) fame and popularity; his essays have an easy-going and conversational style that appealed to his early readers, and they roam through a variety of subjects, all down-to-earth and taken from Lamb's actual experiences. This lovely two-volume set, printed by The Gregynog Press in Wales, comprises Lamb's essays collected under the name "Elia", a kind of pseudonym that refers to Lamb himself.
The essays are illustrated with wood-engraved headpieces by Horace Walter Bray, whose attention to minute details and charming figures complements the gentle humour of Lamb's writing; overall a fine edition of one of England's foremost essayists.
___DESCRIPTION: Full grey cloth, gilt lettering on the spines, bevelled boards, fore- and bottom edges rough cut, both volumes with black-and-white wood-engraved frontispiece by Horace Walter Bray, both volumes with black-and-white wood-engraved headpieces by Bray throughout; octavo size (9.25" by 6.25"), pagination: Volume I: [i-iv] v-vii [viii] 1-265  [1 colophon]; Volume II: [i-iv] v-vii [viii] 1-219  [1 colophon], one of 285 copies, this number 34. Bookseller's ticket "Philip C. Duschnes / Rare Books / New York" on the rear paste-down endpaper of Volume II. In a slipcase covered with brown paper, with a cream paper spine label with black lettering and ruled borders, and the edition number 34 written in pen on the bottom board.
___CONDITION: Both volumes are fine; the covers clean, the corners straight and unrubbed, the bindings tight with solid hinges, the interiors clean and bright, and free of prior owner markings; front paste-down endpaper of Volume I is slightly wrinkled, else fine. The slipcase is almost very good, still strong and sturdy, clean overall with some ares of soiling, some overall edgewear including a split at the seam where the top of the box meets the spine, and a small tear to the spine near the bottom of the box.
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