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Saunders, Frederick. Festival of song: A series of evenings with the poets. New York: Bunce & Huntington (pr. by Mooney & Brown), 1866. 8vo (23.5 cm, 9.25"). xiv, 376 pp.; illus. $165.00
An ornate, ambitious, and highly “curated” florilegium cum commentarium: Arranged in an illustrated narrative progression that amounts to a tour of trans-Atlantic, Anglo-American literary history from Chaucer to the late 19th century, this collection of brief to lengthy verse excerpts is accompanied by thoughts on mostly British poets and their lives, with a number of Americans mixed in towards the end of the chronological series. Included are a grand array of famous men and some women (Poe, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Hemans, et al.), along with a good many lyrists now obscure.
This is a beautiful book profusely illustrated with "seventy-three pictures, by members of the National Academy of Design" including Alfred Fredericks, Winslow Homer, and F.O.C. Darley, engraved by Bobbett and Hooper. This is => the first edition, dedicated to William Cullen Bryant, under whom Saunders had worked at the New York Evening Post.
Binding: Publisher's pebbled brown leather, covers with embossed borders of circular motifs surrounding decorative gilt-stamped titles, spine with gilt-stamped title and compartment decorations (mimicking cover motifs) between raised bands, board edges and turn-ins with gilt rolls. Marbled endpapers; all edges gilt.
Provenance: Front free endpaper with inked gift inscription to Miss Lizzie Dunlop from Gen'l & Mrs. Hagneier(?), dated 1866; front fly-leaf with inked inscription of Janet A. Lathrop, dated 1874. Most recently in the collection of Robert Sadoff, M.D.
NSTC 2S5129; Sabin 77176. Binding as above, edges and extremities rubbed and with small scuffs; remarkably solid in its weighty boards. Ownership inscriptions as above. Pages gently age-toned and remarkably clean, with engravings sharp. => An elegant, quintessentially late-19th-century production in a pleasing copy. (41184) Please RESHELVE This.
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