London: Chapman & Hall, 1867. Original blind-stamped purple cloth.
First Edition of one of George Meredith's scarcer novels, his only historical one, sited during the 1848 first war of the Risorgimento in Italy. It was published (actually in late 1866) in three volumes (for the benefit of the lending libraries) at the conclusion of serialization in The Fortnightly Review -- Meredith having sold the serial rights for £250 to its editor, George Lewes, who lived with George Eliot, who herself had recently written her own historical novel sited in Italy, ROMOLA. VITTORIA would not be re-published until 1885.
VITTORIA was written in fits and starts. Though it was started before RHODA FLEMING, Meredith put it aside because of the financial pressures experienced at the time of his second marriage in September 1864. RHODA FLEMING was the pot-boiler that would allow him to pay his debts, settle at the new house in Copsham, and convince his father-in-law that he was a successful novelist. VITTORIA, on the other hand, was to be a serious work involving a study of people during the course of significant political events [Collie].
As is proper, there is a half-title only in Vol I. This set is in good-to-very good condition only, which from our limited experience is about as good as one can find. (Our only other set, in 2009, was the copy of the fastidious collector George Barr McCutcheon -- yet was in worse condition than this set.) The spines actually look pretty good, but the front covers of all three volumes show small patches of erosion of the purple cloth down to the boards beneath. Buxton Forman pp 41-45 ("in blue and also in maroon cloth"); Collie VII ("deep purplish-red patterned cloth, endpapers pale yellow"); Sadleir 1706 (also see pp 380-381, where Sadleir ranks VITTORIA sixth in scarcity among Meredith's fifteen works of fiction). Item #14830