"HOW ALL HIS PAGES GLOW WITH CREATIVE FIRE!" (BALZAC)
COOPER, James Fenimore. Gleanings in Europe: Italy. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Blanchard, 1837. Two volumes. Octavo, original cloth with paper labels. $600.
First American edition of Cooper’s account of France and social critique of American life.
During the last half of the 1820s, Cooper "gave himself up to travel, authorship, and controversy over the relative virtues of America and Europe. His travels included brief stays in England in 1826 and 1828, a longer visit to Switzerland in 1828, temporary residences in Italy during 1828-30, an excursion to Munich and Dresden in 1830, and a return after the July revolution to Paris, where he lived until his return to New York in 1833" (DAB). Upon his return, he was "repelled by the absence of what he considered to be public and private virtue, the abuses of democracy, and the failure to perceive the best elements of the life he had conjured up in his novels" (Hart, 165). This is one of four separate Gleanings, published separately between 1837 and 1838, containing Cooper's pungent social criticism of American life. Published six weeks earlier in London under the title Recollections of Europe. BAL 3876. Spiller & Blackburn 22. Early owner signatures to title pages.
Infrequent faint foxing to text; spines and labels faded and with a bit of ink spotting. An extremely good copy.