Friday, January 20, 2017

Byron to Hunt to Fields

Image of engraving of a young couple dancing outdoors with a throng of lounging onlookersPrepping for this week's class on British Romanticism helped us "discover" the Wordsworth Sonnets edition we just blogged. It also turned up a pretty cool double association copy. Our copy of the four volume Works of the Right Honorable Lord Byron (London: John Murray, 1815) came to us as one of one-hundred volumes from the library of James T. Fields bequeathed to Dartmouth by his widow in 1915. Fields was a partner in the legendary Boston firm Ticknor and Fields, the primary publisher of books from the nineteenth-century American Renaissance. Field's hobnobbed with the literati on both sides of the Atlantic, and his library is a stunner. Just having been owned by Fields makes this a pretty good association copy.

Image of inscription on flyleaf of the Works of Lord Byron. The inscription reads: "To Leigh Hunt from his friend the Author. June 1st, 1815.But there's more! This copy was a presentation copy from Lord Byron to the poet, journalist, and critic, Leigh Hunt. Hunt was a champion of the romantics and helped to popularize Byron, Keats, and Shelley (though he disliked Blake). So it is no surprise that Byron would grace him with a copy of this works. Interestingly, the book was presented to Hunt on June 1st, 1815. That was shortly after Hunt had been released from prison where he had served a two-year sentence for having slandered the Prince Regent, who would later be crowned George IV.

There are lots of markings in the book and some corrections. We think they are Leigh Hunt's hand, but they may be Fields's notes.

To see it ask for Fields 13.

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