Sims Reed Rare Books×

Endymion: A Poetic Romance

Keats, John

London. Printed for Taylor and Hessey. 1818
The first edition of Keats' 'Endymion'.

'Endymion' was John Keats' second book, dedicated to Thomas Chatterton, who like Keats and Shelley and Byron, epitomised the Romantic ideal with their precocious talents and tragic early deaths. 'Endymion' was received badly by contemporary reviewers and it has been argued that it contributed to Keats' death from tuberculosis. Indeed, the reviews for 'Endymion' caused Byron to write: 'Tis strange the mind, that very fiery particle / Should let itself be snuffed out by an article'. (Don Juan, Canto 2, Stanze 60). Shelley defended Keats also, attributing Keats' early death directly to the reception of 'Endymion', in his introduction to 'Adonais', published in the year of Keats' death, 1821.

This tall copy with many sheets retaining deckle edges at foot is from the second issue with the printer's credit reading 'T. Miller, Printer, Noble street, Cheapside' and with the five-line errata.

'A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: / Its loveliness increase ... '. (The opening lines of Endymion).

[MacGillivray A2].
pp. ix, (i), 207. 8vo. (224 x 150 mm). Half-title with printer's credit verso, title, leaf with dedication to Thomas Chatterton, two leaves with Keats' 'Preface', leaf with five-line errata and 'Book I' to 'Book IV' of Keats' verse with section title to each 'Book'; several leaves retain uncut deckle edges at foot and outer edges. Full green crushed morocco by Rivière & Son with their signature gilt, boards with triple gilt ruled borders, banded spine with gilt decoration, floral tools and gilt title in 6 compartments, turn-ins with elaborate decorative borders, board edges ruled in gilt, marbled pastedowns and endpapers, later matching green morocco-edged cloth board slipcase.

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