The History of Sir Charles Grandison in a Series of Letters…. Samuel RICHARDSON.

The History of Sir Charles Grandison in a Series of Letters…
The History of Sir Charles Grandison in a Series of Letters…

London: Printed for S. Richardson, 1754.

Seven volumes, small octavo, single leaf publisher's advertisement in volume IV, marginal tear with slight loss to one page of volume III and two pages in volume VI, some pages becoming loose (see volume IV), early owner's inscription to each title-page ("Jurin"), occasional eighteenth-century marginalia; overall an attractive set in contemporary full calf, banded spines with double green and red labels, some wear including chipping to some of the labels, and chipping to head and tail of spines, a little shaken.

First editions: a handsome set, the third and last of Richardson's great epistolary novels, in striking contemporary condition.

First editions: a handsome set, the third and last of Richardson's great epistolary novels, in striking contemporary condition.

Considered a companion to the earlier Clarissa, here Richardson gave a portrait of a good man, to balance some of the portraits of bounders and cads that had graced his earlier novels. Richardson's patience - and vanity - had been tried by the publishing success of Fielding's Tom Jones, and he took some time to complete the tale. It was published anonymously ("by the Editor of Pamela and Clarissa"), but in the preface Richardson all but admitted his authorship.

The novel has not been considered the equal of Clarissa - "none of his three novels has set modern criticism so much at variance as Grandison" notes the Cambridge History of English Literature - but its greatness is considered to be Richardson's ability to present a rich and varied cast of characters, and the freshness of his observation, particularly with regards to the comic figures. Jane Austen and George Eliot both thought highly of the book, and Ruskin ranked it with Don Quixote, though others have found Charles Grandison impossibly perfect and consequently uninteresting.

Although showing a few signs of wear, and indeed of having been carefully read, this is an attractive set.

The text of Sir Charles Grandison was pirated by an Irish printer who offered the first volumes for sale prior to the release of the London edition. The seventh, and final, volume of this set includes Richardson's lament of twenty pages denouncing the pirate edition and those who profited from it.

Rothschild, 1752.

Price (AUD): $2,950.00  other currencies Ref: #3710375

See all items by