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Thackeray, William Makepeace; Joseph Swain, illus.  The four Georges: Sketches of manners, morals, court and town life. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1860. 12mo (21.9 cm, 8.625"). [2], 20, 175–92, 257–78, 385–406 pp.; 4 plts., illus.

The "original issue in The Cornhill Magazine": A book-form collection, with printed title-page, of the serialized first printing of Thackeray's witty, entertaining biographies of Kings George I through IV, incorporating much commentary on the social and cultural life of each era. Charles Dudley Warner said of these essays that they "do not profess to be history in any sense — certainly not in that in which Macaulay understood or McCarthy understands it, still less in that which Mr. Kidd predicts it will some day assume: they express the thoughts of the kindly satirist, of the novelist who sees not too deeply, but whose gaze misses nothing in the field it scans. Written in much the manner of ‘Esmond’ or ‘Vanity Fair,’ and in the author’s inimitable style, they give delight which their readers never afterward wholly lose" (Warner, Library of the World's Best Literature). The four sections were printed in the July through October 1860 issues of the magazine (although the original Cornhill wrappers bound in here are for the no. 18, June 1861 issue).
        Each sketch opens with a wood-engraved plate, and also includes smaller vignettes. Two of the four wood-engraved plates were signed by Joseph Swain, and many of the other in-text illustrations here were likely that prolific engraver's work.
        Binding: 19th-century half dark red morocco with marbled paper–covered sides, spine with raised bands continued in blind onto boards, gilt-stamped title, and gilt-stamped trefoil decorations in compartments; binding stamped by Donnelley.
        Provenance: Original front wrapper with inked inscription of R[obert] G[eorge] Moger (ca. 1811–85), a Highgate physician and philanthropist. Most recently in the library of Robert L. Sadoff, M.D., sans indicia.

NCBEL, III, 858. Binding as above, front joint and extremities a little rubbed, upper outer front corner bumped. Pages slightly age-toned. A pleasing piece of Thackeriana.  (39838)   Please RESHELVE This.

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