The Borowitz Copy,
in the Original Parts and with an Autograph Letter Signed by Thackeray
THACKERAY, W[illiam] M[akepeace]. The Virginians. A Tale of the Last Century. With Illustrations on Steel and Wood by the Author. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1858-1859 [i.e., November 1857-October 1859].
First edition. In the original twenty-four monthly parts (November 1857-October 1859). Octavo ( 8 3/4 x 5 5/8 inches; 222 x 143 mm.). vii, 382, ; vii, 376 pp. Two engraved vignette titles and forty-six engraved plates by the author.
Collates nearly complete, with all back ads and slips correct and complete except for one extra slip in Part XXIII and the bookseller's catalogue missing from the rear of Part XXIV.
Original yellow printed wrappers. Part I with a little bit of dust soiling to front wrapper, Parts I and XXIII with a little bit of wear to spines. Two spines slightly worn and possibly expertly repaired. Old London bookseller's label on front wrapper of
One leaf of back ads in Part VI partially torn. Some plates with marginal darkening around the edges. Otherwise this set is in remarkably fresh condition, unopened. Housed in a full red morocco drop-back clamshell case lined with watered silk. Spine decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments with five raised bands. From the library David and Lulu Borowitz with their booklabel on the inside of the case.
Laid in is a short Autograph Letter Signed by Thackeray. "My dear Doctor/I will come with pleasure tomorrow if you/will promise not to have any bouillabaisse./Very faithfully yours/W.M. Thackeray." Written in black ink on one octavo page folded in half (4 pages measuring 7 x 4 7/16 inches; 178 x 112 mm.). Paper watermarked "J Whatman 1857."
Virginians, The; A Tale of the Last Century, romance by Thackeray, published in England (2 vols., 1858Ė59), in the U.S. in 1859. Thackeray conceived the idea and began his research during a visit to the U.S. (1855Ė56) and received information and suggestions from J.P. Kennedy, who accompanied him on a tour of Virginia. The work is a sequel to Henry Esmond. Rachel Warrington, widowed daughter of Henry Esmond, affectionately dominates her twin sons, Harry and George, whom she rears at Castlewood, the Virginia estate inherited from her father. George accompanies Washington, then a young officer and friend of his mother, on the expedition of Braddock, and in the rout of the British force is believed to have been killed. Harry goes to England as heir to the estate, where he meets the English Castlewoods. They cultivate him because of his wealth and he is led into a life of extravagance and dissipation by Baroness Bernstein, once his father's fiancée Beatrix, but now twice widowed and an unscrupulous social leader. Imprisoned for gambling debts, he is released on the arrival of George, who had only been injured and captured by the French. Harry serves in Canada under Wolfe, while George turns London playwright. Their tyrannical mother spurns both, Harry for marrying Hetty Mountain, her housekeeper's daughter, George for marrying Theo Lambert, a penniless English girl. During the Revolution George, who has inherited the title and property of the English Warringtons, joins the Loyalists, and Harry becomes a patriot leader. Later reconciled, Harry becomes master of the family's Virginia property, George of the English estate" (The Oxford Companion to American Literature).
Van Duzer 232. Wolff 6700.
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