“THE FINEST ESSAYIST IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE”
ADDISON, Joseph. Works. London: for T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1811. Six volumes. Octavo, original full tan calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, black morocco spine labels, marbled endpapers and edges. $1200.
Later collected edition of Addison’s works, handsomely bound.
"The finest essayist in the English language… It is impossible… to overestimate the impact of The Spectator"—the daily literary and social paper he co-founded and wrote with Richard Steele—"on early 18th-century England. It had lightness and grace, and yet it was a mentor. It portrayed a middle way between Puritan asceticism and Restoration rowdiness. Its ridicule does not wound, it reforms without cant; as Macaulay said, it 'reconciles wit and virtue.' And all this is done in a style unsurpassed for ease, simplicity and clarity… As an essayist, [Addison] will live while English is read" (Kunitz & Haycraft, 1-3). "An astonishing range of social comment… the perfect satirical vehicle for the dissemination of cultivated values to the growing middle classes" (An English Library, 215). This set includes not only Addison's influential essays but also his verse and drama. Bookplates.
Occasional mild foxing. Binding with light expert restoration. A handsome set.