“DREAMY, MYSTICAL, SERENE”: TENNYSON’S VIVIEN AND GUINEVERE, WITH 18 STEEL-ENGRAVINGS BY DORÉ
(DORÉ, Gustave, illustrator) TENNYSON, Alfred. Vivien. BOUND WITH: Guinevere. London: Edward Moxon, 1867. Folio (12-1/2 by 17 inches), original dark blue cloth gilt, all edges gilt. $2600.
First edition of Doré’s haunting and dramatic illustrations, on 18 steel-engraved plates, for two of Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King,” in original cloth.
"Tennyson's poetry brought about a rebirth of interest in [Arthurian] material and eventually placed it on a new plateau of respect and significance for writers and artists" (Lacy, 446). Doré's illustrations for Tennyson's verse were, in 1867, "first published as four separate titles: Elaine, Guinevere, Vivien and Enid; they were then combined into two-title volumes," as here, "and then all four titles were combined into Idylls of the King" (Malan, 233) in 1868. "Doré evocatively portrays a romantic wilderness of misty lakes, dense forests, pounding seas and castle-topped crags" (Lacy, 45). "The steel engravings [produce] a dreamy, mystical, serene look that is quite different for Doré. Some of them actually make you feel like you are floating through time and space, peering down on the characters and scenes below? These were very popular illustrations. What other set of Tennyson illustrations has been reprinted 100 times?" (Malan 97, 103). The two poems themselves first published 1859. See Malan, 227, 303. Owner's embossed blindstamp to title page.
Interior clean, small expert repair to marginal tear to Plate II of Vivien, not affecting image. Minor rubs to spine ends, corners gently bumped. A very nice, bright, near-fine copy in the original cloth.