Fine Editions Ltd

Fine Editions Ltd
The natural history and antiquities of Selborne, in the county of Southampton: with engravings, and an appendix. Gilbert WHITE.
The natural history and antiquities of Selborne, in the county of Southampton: with engravings, and an appendix
The natural history and antiquities of Selborne, in the county of Southampton: with engravings, and an appendix

The natural history and antiquities of Selborne, in the county of Southampton: with engravings, and an appendix

London: Printed by T. Bensley: for B. White and Son, at Horace’s Head, Fleet-Street, M,DCC,LXXXIX [1789]. First Edition. Morocco. First and only Edition published in the author's lifetime. 4to: [2],vi,468 [i.e. 466],[14]pp, with two title-page vignettes and seven plates (including the folding frontispiece, said to to contain portraits of four of White's friends) engraved by Peter Mazell and Daniel Lerpiniere after drawings by Samuel Hieronymus Grimm. Advertisement signed and dated: Gil. White. January 1st, 1788. Signature Ppp2 misassigned Pp2, and pp. 441–2 omitted from pagination but text continuous. Beautifully bound by Bayntun in full red levant morocco, spine gilt in six compartments (central ornament in four, lettering in two), boards framed in gilt filet with gilt diamond centerpiece, elaborate gilt turn-ins, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers, two red silk page markers laid in. Fine wide-margined example, virtually pristine (folding frontispiece lightly soiled, typical cross-toning from engravings). From the collection of Philadelphia bibliophile Herman Blum, with his gilt stamp, dated 10/30/51, on front fly leaf. Martin 90. Rothschild 2550. Grolier English 62. British Bee Books 143. Mullens and Swann, p. 633. Guardian 100 Nonfiction, 80. Freeman (British Natural History Books) 3975. Fine. Item #BB1133

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Claims are made that the Natural History Selborne is the fourth most-published book in the English language, after the Bible, Shakespeare, and Bunyan, while White is recognized as a great stylist. His literary landmark appeared at a pivotal moment during the reign of George III, when zoology and botany were at the cutting edge of scientific inquiry. The book is comprised of three epistolary sequences—the letters addressed to Thomas Pennant (who, when White met him, was preparing the second edition of his British Zoology) and Daines Barrington (who had designed a naturalist's annual notebook, whjch White adopted for his own recorded-keeping) form the natural history portion, while the remainder, unaddressed, make up the account of parish antiquities. White's "attention ran counter to the spirit of leading contemporaries, many of whom sought the generalization of knowledge . . . [Yet it] was precisely White's resistance to generalization, together with his unending flow of rich particularity, that enabled him to fulfill his main aim, that of encouraging his readers to give ‘a more ready attention’ to the flora and fauna of their daily world. . . . {N]obody has managed to rival the grace and ease of White's writing, [which] has delighted readers for more than two centuries," (ODNB) N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, with dust jackets carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).

Price: $2,865.00

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