THE DE COVERLEY ESSAYS, HANDSOMELY BOUND
STEELE, Richard and ADDISON, Joseph. The De Coverley Essays. London: Gay and Bird, 1901. Tall 12mo, contemporary full speckled tan calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, brown morocco spine label, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut and unopened. $275.
Later edition of one of the leading series by two of the most famous 18th-century British periodical essayists, handsomely bound by Zaehnsdorf.
“The periodical essay… reached its acme of achievement early in the 18th century in the work of Richard Steele and Joseph Addison.” Together, The Guardian, The Spectator and The Tatler “helped to form the taste and to shape the morals and manners of countless generations in Britain and abroad” (John Calhoun Stephens). Sir Roger de Coverley was one of Steele and Addison’s most noteworthy achievements. Created in The Spectator in 1711 by the writing team, Sir Roger de Coverley was said to be an English squire of Queen Anne’s reign. His name was immediately familiar to readers as it was also the name of a well-known English/Scottish country dance. The writers explained the coincidence by making de Coverley the great-grandson of the dance’s inventor. Sir Roger was intended to embody the values and display the mannerisms of an old country gentleman, which allowed his Tory politics to be portrayed as silly and outdated while the character himself remained beloved by the public. He swiftly became one of Steele and Addison’s most popular creations.
A very nearly fine copy.