“A SAVAGE REALIST WITH AN EYE FOR ECCENTRIC CHARACTER”: DELUXE LIMITED EDITION OF SMOLLETT’S WORKS, ILLUSTRATED WITH 48 PLATES (INCLUDING 12 COLOR FRONTISPIECES), BEAUTIFULLY BOUND IN ELABORATE INLAID MOROCCO
SMOLLETT, Tobias. The Works. New York: George D. Sproul, 1902. Twelve volumes. Octavo, contemporary full crushed green morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines and boards with inlaid red and yellow morocco roses, raised bands, richly floral gilt dentelles, red morocco doublures with inlaid white and green morocco flowers, marbled extra endpapers, top edges gilt, uncut. $5000.
Deluxe “Hand-Made Edition” of Smollett’s works, number 10 of 150 sets, illustrated with 48 plates (double-suite, one on mounted Japan tissue; one frontispiece in each volume in color), very beautifully bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet.
“Like Richardson and Fielding, [Smollett] was a critic of manners; but being a ‘lousy Scot’ and a surgeon to boot he lacked entrée to high society and wrote always as an external observer and critic. A born storyteller, he paid little attention to premeditated effects; his narrative and descriptive gifts were sufficient to keep readers keenly interested and amused… For inventiveness and diversity of episode, vivid particularlity of detail to the point of caricature and energy of style, Smollett is hardly excelled. He is to the 18th-century novel what Hogarth is to painting—a savage realist with an eye for eccentric character, which he discovers in all classes” (Baugh et al., 961-62). This set presents his complete works, including the autobiographical Roderick Random (1748), the Cervantes-inspired Adventures of Sir Launcelot Greaves (1760-61) and his experimental triumph The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771), esteemed as one of “the greatest masterpieces of English fiction” (Baugh et al., 964). Illustrated with four plates in each volume in double-suite (one on mounted Japan tissue; one frontispiece in each volume in color), 48 plates in all. The set is splendidly bound in full morocco, elaborately gilt-tooled with intricate floral designs and bearing floral morocco inlays on the boards.
Spines uniformly toned to brown. A fine set, most elegantly bound.