HANDSOME SET OF GIBBON’S MISCELLANEOUS WORKS
GIBBON, Edward. Miscellaneous Works of Edward Gibbon, Esq. With Memoirs of his Life and Writings, Composed by Himself: Illustrated from his Letters, with Occasional Notes and Narrative by John Lord Sheffield. London: John Murray, 1814. Five volumes. Octavo, contemporary full brown calf gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers and edges. $1500.
Second edition of Gibbon’s miscellaneous works, greatly expanded from the first, with engraved frontispiece portrait, four engraved plates and folding genealogical chart, handsomely bound.
After Gibbon’s death in 1794, his closest friend, Lord Sheffield, collected and published these letters, notes, diaries, fragments, essays and autobiography, carefully editing them so that his late friend would not be exposed to uncomplimentary public scrutiny. In his preface, Lord Sheffield wrote, “Few men, I believe, have ever so fully unveiled their own character, by a minute narrative of their sentiments and pursuits, as Mr. Gibbon… not with study and labour— not with an affected frankness— but with a genuine confession of his little foibles and peculiarities, and a good-humoured and natural display of his own conduct and opinions.” Lord Sheffield forbade in his will the publication of any additional papers. The first edition was published in two quarto volumes in 1796. “About 1807 Lord Sheffield began to work on a second edition… It is not clear why another seven years elapsed before the second edition was published… [Though projected to run six volumes,] there were in fact five octavo volumes, containing the old and the new matter rearranged”—as here—“and one quarto volume containing the new matter separately [thus the first edition’s publication dates are often cited as 1796-1815]… The five volumes, though dated 1814 on the titles, were not actually issued until early in 1815” (Norton, 192-5). Norton, 200. Lowndes, 886. Armorial bookplates.
Scattered light foxing, light expert restoration to handsome calf bindings.