Prepping for this week's class on British Romanticism helped us "discover" the Wordsworth Sonnets edition we just blogged. It also turned up a pretty cool double association copy. Our copy of the four volume Works of the Right Honorable Lord Byron (London: John Murray, 1815) came to us as one of one-hundred volumes from the library of James T. Fields bequeathed to Dartmouth by his widow in 1915. Fields was a partner in the legendary Boston firm Ticknor and Fields, the primary publisher of books from the nineteenth-century American Renaissance. Field's hobnobbed with the literati on both sides of the Atlantic, and his library is a stunner. Just having been owned by Fields makes this a pretty good association copy.
But there's more! This copy was a presentation copy from Lord Byron to the poet, journalist, and critic, Leigh Hunt. Hunt was a champion of the romantics and helped to popularize Byron, Keats, and Shelley (though he disliked Blake). So it is no surprise that Byron would grace him with a copy of this works. Interestingly, the book was presented to Hunt on June 1st, 1815. That was shortly after Hunt had been released from prison where he had served a two-year sentence for having slandered the Prince Regent, who would later be crowned George IV.
There are lots of markings in the book and some corrections. We think they are Leigh Hunt's hand, but they may be Fields's notes.
To see it ask for Fields 13.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
In addition to his personal note to his friend, inside the back cover Wordsworth has written out two sonnets from his Memorials of a Tour in Italy 1837: "Under the Shadow of a Stately Pile" and "I Saw Afar Off the Dark Top of a Pine." After the first one, he has written "October 14, 1839" (presumably the date of the inscription). After the second sonnet, he includes the clarification that the pine in question stands upon Mount Mario, the highest hill in Rome. This is exciting stuff, but the little book has yet more secrets to reveal. On pages 34, 301, and 405, Wordsworth has made corrections by hand to three of his printed sonnets. One can almost imagine the revered poet turning slowly through the pages as he deliberately and carefully annotated this volume for a close friend.
To see this exciting book for yourself, which was a gift of John W. Little, class of 1940, come to Rauner and ask to hold Rare PR5866 .A1 1838.