The Caxtons: A Family Picture
Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1849. Decorative Cloth. First Edition of this scarce triple-decker, which pioneered the "domestic" school of fiction. Crown (195 x 119mm): 8vo: ,iii,,viii,327,; ,346; ,308,32pp. Publisher's chocolate brown ribbed cloth blocked in blind and lettered in gold, fore- and bottom edges rough-trimmed, pale yellow end papers. Contemporary armorial (ormerod) book plate of Jonathan Hargreaves (1840-1893) to front paste-downs (Franks Bequest 13772). End sheets spotted, else a fine, bright set, tightly bound and clean throughout. Sadleir 392. Wolff 924. Fine. Item #BB1891
First of three Caxton novels, "discursive treatments of upper middle-class life, quite different from his other fiction." (Wolff) Bulwer-Lytton loomed large on the literary scene for several decades ("In his day, no British writer rose faster or stood higher . . . and his day spanned several literary eras, from late Georgian to high Victorian," according to John Sutherland). He wrote in an astonishing variety of styles, and, his silver-fork novel Pelham was “the most popular and most often reprinted fashionable novel of the century.” (Sutherland, "Ho, Diomed," TLS Issue 5081, p. 12) "Bulwer had a major impact on Edgar Allan Poe, on his Byronic persona, his writing and his editorial practice. His Newgate novels influenced Charles Reade, Wilkie Collins, and Sheridan Le Fanu. His emphasis on the crucial role of “wholeness” in art particularly impressed Matthew Arnold. Melville, Carlyle, Hawthorne, and Mary Elizabeth Braddon are among others whose work was directly affected by that of Bulwer. . . . Until relatively recently, Bulwer’s literary reputation was that of an opportunist who slavishly followed popular taste. In Edward Bulwer-Lytton: A Fiction of New Regions (1976), however, Allan Conrad Christensen argued convincingly that Bulwer was a pioneer rather than an imitator; his experiments with different novelistic genres, to Christensen, are the result of his desire to find the most appropriate form for his complex metaphysical philosophy." (Literary Encyclopedia) The Caxtons was one of his most popular novels, and in 1853 Bulwer-Lytton published a sequel to it entitled My Novel. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, 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.).