“A SLY HIT, A HAPPY PUN, A HUMOROUS COMBINATION”
LAMB, Charles. Essays of Elia. London: Arthur L. Humphreys, 1911. Quarto, contemporary three-quarter blue crushed morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, top edge gilt. $500.
Finely printed 1911 Humphreys edition of Lamb’s memorable Essays, a handsome wide-margined volume, from the libraries of two famous collectors, handsomely bound by Hatchards.
This wonderful collection of Essays "form the most delightful section amongst Lamb's works… They are carefully elaborated; yet never were works written in a higher defiance to the conventional pomp of style. A sly hit, a happy pun, a humorous combination, lets the light into the intricacies of the subject… [Lamb] gives an importance to every thing, and sheds a grace over all" (Allibone, 1050, 1049). "The first series of these popular Essays appeared in the London Magazine between August 1820 and October 1822; the second series, between May 1823 and August 1825" (Lowndes). A splendid volume in the Royal Library, Belles Lettres Series. With gilt armorial morocco bookplate of Cortlandt Field Bishop, owner of New York's American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, prominent aviator and an early 20th-century patron of sports and the arts, whose collection of rare books was highly prized. Also with bookplate of bibliophile Abel E. Berland, whose library included over 500 literary treasures. When interviewed by Nicholas Basbanes for his book, A Gentle Madness, Berland said of his collection: "The most important thing I can say to you about these books is that I never take them for granted."
A fine copy.