[Thomas Carlyle's own copy] In Three Volumes. London: Chapman & Hall, 1864. Original blind-stamped dark blue cloth.
First Edition of Meredith's third novel (following THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL and EVAN HARRINGTON, which in turn followed some verse, "an Arabian entertainment" and "a legend of Cologne"). Meredith worked on this tale for three years, and ultimately had to pay out of pocket for its publication (he had an "in" with Chapman & Hall, as he was employed by them as a reader of submitted manuscripts); C&H's reluctance to publish EMILIA was justified, as it was not printed again until the Collected Edition of 1885 (then re-titled SANDRA BELLONI). Nonetheless Meredith wanted to follow up EMILIA IN ENGLAND with EMILIA IN ITALY -- which he did three years later, with his sequel which was instead titled VITTORIA.
This set is still in the original blind-stamped dark blue cloth, and is in very good condition (minor wear at the extremities, some of the original endpapers cracked). In our experience this is quite a scarce three-decker; in fact it is the first time we have offered it in our 30+ years in business. Collie V; Sadleir 1693.
Provenance: Vol I bears the bookplate of Frank J. Hogan (1877-1944), the noted lawyer (for the Dohenys, among others) and book collector (his library was sold at Parke-Bernet Galleries in 1945). All three volumes also bear the earlier bookplate of the Scottish philosopher and writer Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), whose prose was a major influence upon the young Meredith (and upon whom the character "Dr. Shrapnel" is modeled in Meredth's BEAUCHAMP'S CAREER). In his biography of Meredith, Siegfried Sassoon noted:
I can recognize the influence of Carlyle [upon Meredith] as a potent one. From boyhood Meredith had absorbed his philosophy admiringly, and his [Carlyle's] phraseology is apparent in many passages of THE ORDEAL [OF RICHARD FEVEREL]. Carlyle read it in 1859 and wrote to the publishers, asking about the author. Meredith went to see him and was advised to turn to history as the repository of facts. Nearly fifty years later he [Meredith] described the occasion to a visiting journalist: "I said to him, with all deference, I thought there were greater things in the world than facts. He turned on me and said 'But facts are truth, and truth is facts.' I said, 'No, pardon me; if I may say so, truth I take to be the broad heaven above the petty doings of mankind which we call Facts.' He gave me a smile of pity for my youth, as I suppose, and then he said, 'Ah weel, if ye like to talk in that poetic way, ye may; but ye'll find it in your best interest, young man, to stick to Fahcts.'" Item #12457