“SUMMED UP AND EMBODIED THE GREATNESS OF POSSIBILITIES WHICH SEA POWER COMPREHENDS”: FIRST ENGLISH EDITION OF MAHAN’S LIFE OF NELSON, HANDSOMELY BOUND BY BAYNTUN-RIVIERE
MAHAN, A.T. The Life of Nelson, the Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great Britain. London: Sampson Low, Marston, 1897. Two volumes. Octavo, modern full black morocco, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $1750.
First English edition of this biography of Britain’s greatest naval hero by “the first philosopher of sea power,” illustrated with 19 engraved plates and 20 maps and plans (two folding), handsomely bound in full morocco by Bayntun-Riviere.
With his popular books on the importance of naval might (The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783 in 1890 and The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793-1812 in 1892), Alfred Thayer Mahan "electrified foreign offices and war departments all over the world." In 1893, "he received a tumultuous reception in British naval and political circles… This reception raised Mahan's already considerable Anglophilia to prodigious heights. Since the British well understood the importance of sea power in their own imperial history, they roundly cheered the now famous American who wholly agreed with them" (ANB). Mahan's biography of Nelson depicts its subject as "the one man who in himself summed up and embodied the greatness of possibilities which sea power comprehends." Published the same year as the first edition (Boston); produced from the American sheets, but with London imprint title pages. Kunitz & Haycraft, 504. Half title signatures of J.B. Blaikley, the prominent British surgeon.
Light foxing to preliminaries, faint shallow dampstain to top edge of Volume I, binding fine. A handsome copy.