"The revolutionary manifesto of the romantic poets”: First Edition of Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems; containing the first appearance of William Wordsworth's famous Preface defining his theory of poetry
Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems.
Wordsworth, William and Samuel Coleridge.$11,000.00
Item Number: 100532
London: Printed for T.N. Longman and O. Rees, 1800.
First complete edition of the manifesto for the English romantic movement containing the first appearance of Wordsworth’s landmark preface defining his theory of poetry. Small octavos, two volumes bound in full contemporary tree calf with gilt titles and tooling to the spine with red and green morocco spine labels lettered in gilt, gilt ruling to the front and rear panels, gilt turn-ins and inner dentelles, marbled endpapers. In near fine condition. From the Brother Julian F.S.C. Collection with bookplates to the pastedown of each volume. Housed in a custom cloth chemise case and half morocco clamshell box.
In the 1798 one-volume first edition of Lyrical Ballads, the founders of the Romantic Movement rejected classical principles of beauty and formal style, choosing instead to write in the language of ordinary people and elevate their lives. The work proved to be a financial disaster and was sent back by Longman to Wordsworth for revision. “This was fortunate for Wordsworth… and fortunate for posterity.” For this 1800 edition contains the first appearance of Wordsworth’s “famous Preface defining his theory of poetry… expressed in such phrases as that poetry ‘takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility' and 'is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.'” With this Preface Wordsworth “set a new tone; and it became in effect the revolutionary manifesto of the romantic poets.” Wordsworth’s Preface, in which he staged a “revolt against 18th-century artificiality,” marks the beginning of the Romantic Movement in English literature (PMM, 256). This first complete edition also contains one additional poem to volume 1 and 41 new poems in the second volume.