Letters and Memorials

Thomas CARLYLE   |   Jane Welsh CARLYLE

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Item#: 127294 price:$1,200.00

Letters and Memorials
Letters and Memorials

"THE GREATEST WOMAN LETTER WRITER IN ENGLISH" (ODNB): JANE WELSH CARLYLE'S LETTERS AND MEMORIALS, PREPARED BY HER HUSBAND THOMAS CARLYLE

CARLYLE, Jane Welsh (CARLYLE, Thomas, editor). Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle, Prepared for Publication by Thomas Carlyle. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1883. Three volumes. Octavo, contemporary full tan polished calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, burgundy and blue morocco spine labels, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt. $1200.

First edition of the first selection of Jane Carlyle's letters—"an electric-shower of all-illuminating brilliancy, penetration, wise discernment, just enthusiasm, humor, grace, patience, courage, love," according to her husband Thomas Carlyle, who arranged for the letters' publication—three volumes handsomely bound by Riviere & Son.

"It is hardly disputed that she is the greatest woman letter writer in English. Her skill often lay in the immediacy of her letters; their appeal lies partly in the story that emerges from her self-dramatization. Short excerpts can barely do them justice. Their effectiveness has nothing to do with elegant prose, to which she could always rise, much to do with her sympathetic imagination, clear head, alertness, and a quick eye and ear for entirely natural expression… Yet her letters should not be treated simply as autobiography. She was an artist, with a keen and critical eye for the weaknesses and strengths of others. She had a strong and alert intellect, and her insights, whether skeptical or irreverent, are always direct. Her companionship with Carlyle was an education itself, as his with her… His unheard-of decision to publish her letters so completely was justified; he was convinced that they give 'such an electric-shower of all-illuminating brilliancy, penetration, wise discernment, just enthusiasm, humor, grace, patience, courage, love—and in fine of spontaneous nobleness of mind and intellect' surpassing 'whatever of best I know to exist in that kind' (Carlyle, Reminiscences, 161). Her other writings show no such power. She was unwilling to make the effort to express herself in other forms, and probably unable. Nevertheless she was a great writer" (ODNB). Tarr, Carlyle G1.1.I-III.a.

Interiors clean and fine, joints lightly rubbed, bindings sound, near-fine and quite handsome.

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