London: Printed for J. Murray by T. Davison, 1814. 6 pp undated ads. Original drab paper-covered boards with printed spine label.
First Edition of LARA; JACQUELINE, which is by Samuel Rogers, had previously been privately printed. LARA was the fourth of Byron's Levantine tales, following THE SIEGE OF CORINTH, THE GIAOUR and THE CORSAIR; "it was also the first poem for which he agreed to accept payment for himself from a publisher -- 700 pounds. Pride had hitherto forbidden him."
An outcast from society -- that is the essential nature of the Byronic hero and lover. Childe Harold is self-outcast, having drugged himself into world-weariness through the 'concubines and carnal company, kept at his ancestral abbey. The Giaour has banished himself to a monastery both for causing the death of his lover, Leila, and for slaying her murderer, the Pasha. Conrad once possessed an ancestral castle but he chose to become an outlaw, a corsair; under the name Lara he returns to his castle in a sequel to The Corsair, to find that the hidden past has put the old feudal life beyond his reach. In the sense that all four of them, the Childe, the Giaour, the Corsair, and Lara are self-exiled, the Byronic hero is a beacon to every subversive leader and enemy of society... These fallen angels, with their secret sense of being both more glorious and more villainous than ordinary mortals, must of necessity be presented as creatures apart. Loneliness is the beginning and end of youthful Byronism. [quotes from Longford]
This copy is still in the very fragile original binding of paper-covered boards. Included are the usual four pages of Murray ads, but in addition -- atypically -- two pages (one leaf) of ads for POEMS BY THREE FRIENDS and THE BATTLE OF ALBUERA. Condition is good-to-very good: there is some erosion of the surface paper at the foot and edges of the spine, and the spine label is rubbed enough that LARA is illegible (though JACQUELINE remains OK). Wise p. 101. Housed in a cloth clamshell case. Item #8625