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The Poetical Works of William Cowper, 1853, Signed Riviere Leather Bindings



The Poetical Works of William Cowper

Published by William Pickering, London in 1853

Signed Full Leather Bindings by Riviere, London

Near FINE Condition

Binding Details:  Signed bindings by Riviere & Sons, London of full morocco leather featuring a spine treatment of elaborate gilt decorations and rules, raised bands, gold gilt titling, and the Pickering emblem in gold gilt on the bottom of the spine. The front and rear covers are double ruled in gilt, The edges and inner dentilles are gold gilted. There are marbled endpapers and the top page ends are gold gilted. The Riviere binder’s stamp appears on the bottom of the first free endpaper.

Book Details:  Originally published in a 3 volume edition in 1830 by William Pickering, London, this is the 1853 two volume edition issued by the same publisher that contains all of the contents of the two volume edition. The Poetry Foundation commenting on his works wrote, “William Cowper was the foremost poet of the generation between Alexander Pope and William Wordsworth and for several decades had probably the largest readership of any English poet. From 1782, when his first major volume appeared, to 1837, the year in which Robert Southey completed the monumental Life and Works of Cowper, more than a hundred editions of his poems were published in Britain and almost fifty in America. Cowper's immense popularity owed much to his advocacy of religious and humanitarian ideals at a time of widespread Evangelical sentiment, manifest as much in the moral zeal of the antislavery movement, which he fervently supported, as in the tide of spiritual enthusiasm issuing directly from the great Revival. But his importance goes far deeper. Echoing the opinion of many early reviewers, Samuel Taylor Coleridge called him "the best modern poet"; and, though his practice reflects in some ways a commitment to Neoclassical, or so-called Augustan, precepts, his innovations in the treatment of nature and common life, in meditative and conversational techniques, and in the foregrounding of autobiography and confession constitute a crucial legacy to the first generation of Romantics. His various achievements in satire, didactic-descriptive verse, narrative, hymnody, and the lyric show an often spectacular command of the potentialities of inherited forms, but the distinctive force of his poetry derives above all from its expression of complex psychological currents and concerns. Cowper's melancholia, exile, and fears of damnation—the sufferings of the "stricken deer"—are among the best-known facts of literary biography: his writing is both their embodiment and the site of their transcendence.”

Each volume measures approximately 9” x 6” with a portrait of Cowper to front of volume one, decorative two-color title pages, and decorative pieces and capitals throughout the two volumes. Volume one contains a detailed index as well as a memoir of William Cowper.

 Condition Report: The bindings are in Near FINE condition with some superficial surface wear and dulling to the gold gilt.  Internally the books are very clean with some offsetting to the edges of the blank preliminaries from the dentilles and portrait of William Cowper. Overall, this is a beautifully bound collection by Riviere, London that houses the critically acclaimed poetry of William Cowper.

Photographs of the bindings and marbled endpapers appear in the photo section of the listing.