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The Comedies [Presentation Copy]

 
The Comedies [Presentation Copy] by CONGREVE, William [Algernon C Swinburne;  (1895)

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Author: CONGREVE, William [Algernon C Swinburne;
Title: The Comedies [Presentation Copy]`
 
Year: 1895
Publisher: Methuen and Co
Place: 1895
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: No
 
Price: £475
 
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Added under Signed and inscribed  

An excellent presentation copy inscribed by Algernon Charles Swinburne to his intimate friend Theodore Watts-Dunton. Two volumes bound in green buckram, a little fading to the spine of the second volume. Swinburne's gift inscription appears on the half title of volume two above the printed rubric, written in ink: 'Walter Theodore Watts-Dunton from A.C. Swinburne'. The bookplates of Albert Louis Cotton (family friend of Julia Margaret Cameron) appear on both pastedowns with Cotton's pencilled shelf number below. Vestiges of an old bookseller's catalogue description have been pasted above the bookplate in the first volume and opposite this, where it has been partially erased, a small hole is rubbed in the free endpaper. Otherwise a near fine set. The books are housed in a bespoke morocco-backed bookbox and a pair of chemises, likely commissioned by Cotton who died in 1936.

Two decades before this publication Swinburne had written an introduction to another edition of Congreve in which he praised the dramatist's comic writing; Swinburne's words are quoted twice by G S Street in his introduction to these volumes and conceivably these two books were publisher's presentation copies to Swinburne. Watts-Dunton was himself an influential book reviewer turned poet and novelist now best remembered for rescuing Swinburne from 'declining health and who lived with him from 1879 until his death at The Pines, Putney, in an intimacy little interrupted by Watts-Dunton's late marriage, in 1905, to a woman much younger than himself' (Margaret Drabble OCEL).
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