Italy, by BECKFORD, William (1759-1844).

BECKFORD, William (1759-1844).

Italy, with Sketches of Spain and Portugal. By William Beckford, Esq. London, Richard Bentley, 1834.

First edition. Two volumes, 8vo (210 x 130 mm), pp. [iv], xvi, 371; xv, [i], 381, [1], text to both volumes browned in places, half-title and title of Vol. II almost detached, with the library stamp of the British Academy of Arts in Rome in both volumes, in slightly later full vellum, ruled in gilt, marbled endpapers, inscribed ’Presented by Bertie Matthew Esq to the Library of the British Academy of Arts in Rome. 22nd April 1844’.

First edition of Beckford’s wonderful letters from the Continent, written ‘in the bloom and heyday of youthful spirits and youthful confidence’ (Advertisement). The first volume focuses on his two visits to Italy, in a total of 31 letters, but it also contains thoughts on visits to Germany and the Low Countries, as well as to the French Alps, including a brief description of the Carthusian monastery la Grande Chartreuse. The second volume has 34 letters about Portugal and 18 letters about Spain.

'Had it been published as intended in 1783, instead of as late as 1834 in a revised version under the title Italy, with Sketches of Spain and Portugal, it would have been hailed as an ice-breaker, preparing the way for the nineteenth century's stylistic eclecticism' (Timothy Mowl, William Beckford, Composing for Mozart, 1998, p. 92).

Chapman, Bibliography of William Beckford, p. 65.

Keywords: English Literature
Print this page View basket Price: £300.00