AKENSIDE Mark (1772)


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First collected edition. 8vo. xii, 402pp. Fine copy in contemporary calf, gilt spine and label (slight cracking to joints). This edition is without the mezzotint frontispiece.London: by W. Bowyer and J. Nichols, sold by J. Dodsley.

This collection was published two years after Akenside's death, and was edited by his friend and executor, the Right Hon. Jeremiah Dyson. A quarto edition was issued simultaneously. Akenside's reputation as a poet rests largely on "The Pleasure of Imagination", begun when he was only 17. Dodsley paid him £120 for it, after Pope's reassurance that "this is no everyday writer." After the poem was published in January 1744, Akenside devoted himself increasingly to the study and practice of medicine. He was supported by Jeremiah Dyson, who enabled him to live "incomparably well". Though an eminent physician, he "shocked his contemporaries by his brutal roughness and cruelty to the poor" (DNB). Akenside continued to produce the odd poem, and unwisely remodelled his 'Pleasure of the Imagination' in 1757. In this volume both the original and 'enlarged' versions are printed, along with his 'Hymn to the Naiads' and a selction of Odes and Inscriptions.Provenance: Francis Thornhill Baring (bookplate).

Stock Code: 54169

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