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Price: £475.00

  

Specimens of the British Poets;

with Biographical and Critical Notices, and

an Essay on English Poetry

In Seven Volumes

By Thomas Campbell [Editor]

1819 - London - John Murray

7.5" by 5"; (xv) 319pp; (viii) 397pp; (viii) 424pp; (viii) 488pp; (vii) 399pp; (viii) 456pp; (vi) 445pp.

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

DETAILS

An attractive set of this collection of British poetry, edited by Thomas Campbell.

Complete in seven volumes.

Volume I contains an essay on English poetry. The remaining volumes contain biographical and critical notes of the most prominent British poets, with examples of their works, chronologically arranged from 1400 to 1805.

Volume II covers Chaucer, 1400, to Beaumont, 1628. Volume III Drayton, 1631, to Phillips, 1664. Volume IV Shirley, 1666, to Prior, 1721. Volume V Sewell, 1726, to Carey, 1763. Volume VI Churchill, 1764, to Johnson, 1784. Volume VII Whitehead, 1785, to Anstey, 1805.

Thomas Campbell (27 July 1777 15 June 1844) was a Scottish poet chiefly remembered for his sentimental poetry dealing especially with human affairs. He was also one of the initiators of a plan to found what became the University of London. In 1799, he wrote The Pleasures of Hope, a traditional 18th century survey in heroic couplets. He also produced several stirring patriotic war songsYe Mariners of England, The Soldier's Dream, Hohenlinden and in 1801, The Battle of Mad and Strange Turkish Princes.

In 1812 Campbell found a new source of income as a result of the expanding demand for public lectures, and gave a successful series at the Royal Institution on poetry. Later he was received enthusiastically in Liverpool and Birmingham, and Walter Scott suggested he should allow himself to be offered a chair at Edinburgh University. This he declined, but his success as a lecturer contributed to the good reception of his Specimens of the British Poets (1819).

The project had been in hand since 1805, originally as a collaboration with Walter Scott, but it was completed by Campbell at irregular intervals, the poet complaining that he had to wade through oceans of bad poetry where not a fish is to be caught (Beattie, 2.47). The range and unfamiliarity of what was eventually chosen confirm the editor's diligence, but the book achieved its main notoriety because of a brief defence of Pope against what Campbell saw as a depreciation by his most recent editor, William Lisle Bowles. There followed a controversy on what Bowles called the invariable principles of poetry, in which Byron came to play the leading role.

CONDITION

In dark blue half calf leather bindings with marbled paper covered boards and gilt lettering to the spines. Externally, smart with slight rubbing. Corners on all volumes are bumped. There is some wear to the leather on all volumes. Internally, generally firmly bound. Pages are foxed throughout, particularly the end-papers. Overall:  GOOD due to foxing.

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Price: £475.00


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