Life of George Washington

George WASHINGTON   |   Washington IRVING

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Item#: 127215 price:$3,500.00

Life of George Washington
Life of George Washington
Life of George Washington
Life of George Washington
Life of George Washington

"A TRIUMPH OF SCHOLARSHIP": MONUMENTAL ILLUSTRATED EDITION OF IRVING'S ESTEEMED LIFE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON, HANDSOMELY BOUND

(WASHINGTON, George) IRVING, Washington. Life of George Washington. New York: G.P. Putnam, 1856-9. Five volumes. Quarto, contemporary three-quarter navy morocco gilt, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, marbled boards, endpapers, and edges. $3500.

"Illustrated Edition" of Irving's well-regarded biography, richly illustrated with over 230 plates, handsomely bound.

This "monumental" Life of Washington had been planned as early as 1825, but Irving did not complete the biography until the final years of his life. "His final project, long contemplated, was a five-volume Life of George Washington (1855-59), elaborately researched and agonizingly completed as his health failed. He lived long enough to see the last volume published, dying soon afterward at Sunnyside. The book was designed—incongruously, given its length—for both scholars and average American readers. It tended to reaffirm standard conceptions of the nation's most revered patriot, who, for Irving, was a nearly perfect hero. A country gentleman, a soldier, and a republican, motivated by civic virtue as well as a sense of noblesse oblige, he had served his country disinterestedly, carefully mediating, for instance, while president, between Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian extremes. Irving went to great lengths to make him a less remote, less glacial figure. Ironically, however, most Americans probably read the book, if at all, in abridged versions" (ANB). "This triumph of scholarship crowned an erratic career… which served in many ways to consolidate the culture of the U. S. and Europe" (Hart, 192). "A popular work; being Irving's it could not be otherwise" (Sabin 35189). According to Blanck, "The publication history of this work is involved." This is the "Illustrated Edition," originally issued in 68 semi-monthly parts, and published a year after the first edition. BAL 10192. Bookplates. Library cards in pockets at rear of volumes.

Light foxing to interiors. A near-fine set, handsomely bound.

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