“SOME GENERAL IDEA OF MODERN HISTORY… IN A SERIES OF PERSONAL SKETCHES”: BULWER’S HISTORICAL CHARACTERS, HANDSOMELY BOUND
BULWER, Henry Lytton. Historical Characters. London: Richard Bentley, 1868. Two volumes. Octavo, contemporary three-quarter brown calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, marbled boards, endpapers and edges. $650.
Fourth edition of Bulwer’s biographies of four leading political figures of the early 19th century—French statesman Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, reform-minded English journalist William Cobbett, English orator George Canning and Scottish philosopher Sir James Mackintosh—handsomely bound.
Retired from a career in diplomacy, Bulwer “before the close of 1867… published in two volumes… four masterly sketches of Talleyrand, Cobbett, Canning and Mackintosh” (DNB), helping satisfy the Victorian reading public’s increasing demand for historical (and often near-hagiographic) material. In assessing their lives, accomplishments and characters, Bulwer presents them, respectively, as “the politic man,” “the contentious man,” “the brilliant man” and “the man of promise.” First published 1867; “two other companion sketches, those of Sir Robert Peel and Viscount Melbourne, have since been selected from among their author’s papers and published posthumously” (DNB).
A handsome copy in very nearly fine condition.