FIRST EDITION OF STERNE’S ELIZA, HANDSOMELY BOUND BY BAYNTUN
WRIGHT, Arnold and SCLATER, William Lutley. Sterne’s Eliza. Some Account of Her Life in India: With Her Letters Written Between 1757 and 1774. London: William Heinemann, 1922. Octavo, contemporary three-quarter purple morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut. $300.
First edition of this biography of Elizabeth Draper, the subject of Irish novelist Laurence Sterne’s well-known Journal to Eliza, enriched with Draper’s own letters chronicling her life and experiences, handsomely bound by Bayntun.
While Elizabeth “Eliza” Draper was an expatriate for most of her life and called India her home, she visited England between 1766 and 1767. It was during that period that she met Irish novelist and Anglican clergyman Laurence Sterne. During his younger years, Sterne had been quite ill with tuberculosis, watched his wife fall ill with the same disease, and sought solace in the writing of Tristram Shandy. It was that book that made him a sensation across the continent. He spent the final years of his life immersed in travel and writing, having turned over his religious duties. It was Eliza Draper who provided his final romance. The two had a reserved courtship, just a year before Sterne’s death and Journal to Eliza was a love letter written in a sentimental style, with Sterne abandoning his tendency toward humor. This engaging biography of Eliza attempts to reveal the subject of Sterne’s affection, a woman who fascinated the British public, through providing an account of her life and offering nearly 20 years of her correspondence.
A very nearly fine copy, handsomely bound.