“THE BEST THAT IS KNOWN AND THOUGHT IN THE WORLD”: MATTHEW ARNOLD’S ESSAYS, 1906, HANDSOMELY BOUND BY RIVIERE & SON
ARNOLD, Matthew. Essays. London: Arthur L. Humphreys, 1906. Small quarto (5 by 6-1/2 inches), contemporary full polished brown calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, red morocco spine label. raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut. $650.
Finely printed 1906 Humphreys edition of Essays by Arnold, “the first modern critic,” a splendid wide-margined copy , handsomely bound in full polished calf gilt by Riviere & Son.
Victorian poet and critic Matthew Arnold “was “‘the first modern critic,’ and could be called ‘the critic’s critic… It is in his The Function of Criticism at the Present Time [herein] that Arnold says that criticism should be a ‘dissemination of ideas, a disinterested endeavour to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world… He was one of those critics who, as Eliot said, arrive from time to time to set the literary house in order. Eliot named Dryden, Johnson and Arnold as some of the greatest critics of the English language” (Lakshmi, London School of Journalism). With Arnold’s “Function of Criticism at the Present Time” (1865), “The Literary Influence of Academies” (1864), and “Maurice de Guérin” and “Eugénie de Guérin,” collected in his Essays in Criticism (1865). With the bookplate of renowned bibliophile Abel E. Berland, whose famous library included over 500 literary treasures. When interviewed by Nicholas Basbanes for his book, A Gentle Madness, Berland said of his prized collection: “The most important thing I can say to you about these books is that I never take them for granted… It is my privilege to visit with them every day, and to be in their company.”
Only lightest rubbing to boards. A lovely about-fine copy.