This is a reprint of a book first published in 1881, featuring selections from Milton, Spenser, Dryden, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats - in fact most of the best-known English poets, and many of their more familiar works.
Sir Edmund William Gosse CB (1849–1928) was himself an English poet, author and critic. Strictly brought up in the Protestant sect, the Plymouth Brethren, he broke away from it once an adult. His account of his childhood in the book "Father and Son" has been described as the first psychological biography. He had a successful career as a historian of late-Victorian sculpture, as well as lecturing in English literature at Cambridge. His translations of Ibsen helped to promote that playwright in England, and he also encouraged the careers of W.B. Yeats and James Joyce.
Our copy remains In its original 'paper over board' publisher's binding (described by some booksellers as being "Full Parchment") with very faded gilt page tops (implying an intention to re-bind in something rather more expensive, such as morocco or calf). Such bindings were becoming less common by 1885, as cloth had been in use for some 50 or 60 years as a preferred material, so this is a remarkable survivor. The covers were originally cream, with the publisher's device printed at the bottom of the front cover, the title in red lettering above, and on the spine, and the editor's details also on the spine in black letters. The publisher's name was in red letters at the foot of the spine. The whole exterior is grubby with age, but remarkably unworn, with only minor damage to the edges and corners, and a little bowing outwards from the binding on both boards. Inside, the rough-cut pages are generally clean and clear, the sewn binding is firm, and there is only slight browning to the endpapers. On a blank page after the front fep and before the title and frontispiece illustration there is a neat pencil-written (dated) gift inscription. The back paste-down has a 'Burn & Co' binder's label.