“HIS STRANGE GENIUS IS EVIDENT”: FIRST COLLECTED EDITION OF DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI’S WORKS, HANDSOMELY BOUND BY ZAEHNSDORF, THE W.R. GRACE COPY
ROSSETTI, Dante Gabriel. The Collected Works. London: Ellis and Scrutton, 1886. Two volumes. Thick small octavo, early 20th-century full blue morocco gilt, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, watered silk doublures, top edges gilt, uncut; original cloth bound in. $1500.
First collected edition of Dante Rossetti’s poems and translations, edited by his brother, handsomely bound by Zaehnsdorf. The copy of New York City mayor and shipping magnate W.R. Grace.
“A superb poet… From his earliest contributions to The Germ [a pre-Raphaelite literary magazine]… to the last unpublished poems collected by his brother, his strange genius is evident” (Kunitz & Haycraft, 534-45). Volume I includes Rossetti’s verse (including his acclaimed sonnet sequence “The House of Life”) and various prose tales and essays; Volume II features the author’s translations, especially of Dante Alighieri. With introductory essay by Rossetti’s brother William. Original blue cloth-gilt bound into both volumes. Simultaneously issued in a large-paper edition of only 30 copies, bound in four volumes. Rossetti 42. CBEL III:271. Armorial bookplate of New York City mayor and shipping magnate William Russell Grace. Today, Grace is best known as the founder of the steamship and trading company W.R. Grace, which began as a small firm exporting products out of Peru and quickly bought other companies until it became the large international corporation it is today. It was through his philanthropy that Grace became mayor of New York City. A well-publicized donation of $40,000 in supplies for famine-struck Ireland made him a popular public figure and he won the 1880 election without any political experience. By 1884, his tough stance against corruption had earned him a reputation as a reformer and succeeded in winning him a second term. Grace was a self-made multi-millionaire and remained an avid book collector right up until his death. Bookplate.
Joints slightly tender. A lovely copy.