Saturday, August 30, 2014

Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem with Notes by Percy Bysshe Shelley, to which is added, a brief memoir of the author.

Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem with Notes by Percy Bysshe Shelley, to which is added, a brief memoir of the author.  Hardcover book (no dust jacket) published by James Watson, 15 City Road, Near Finsbury Square (no date, possibly 1840 or 1841), 112 pages.

Shelley wrote and published Queen Mab when he was quite young. Apparantly it's quite an important piece of his oeuvre and was something that caused a bit of a stir at the time of publication (1813) and thereafter, to the point that the Society for the Prevention of Vice decided that it needed preventing. Pirated copies abounded and someone even went to gaol for publishing it... a bit like Wikileaks except the gaol was probably not as cosy as the Ecuadorian embassy.

I've written previously about my personal lack of poetry and this poem fits my personal profile of unread poetry that I probably wont ever get around to reading. Fortunately I am not a good yard stick to measure the interest in books of poetry, but I do have enough of a knowledge to figure out that a dusty old edition of this book is a book of interest. As per usual I have done a bit research on this particular edition and it has a little bit of interest attached to it.

Currently on line I am unable to find this edition for sale. What I have been able to find was a reference to it in “The Shelley Library.Shelley's Own Books, Pamphlets & Broadsides; Posthumous SeparateIssues; and Posthumous Books wholly or mainly by him. An Essay inBibliography by H.B. Forman.” According to this bibliography this edition is from the early1840s. It's uncertain of the date as there is no date listed in the book and the Bibliographic entry which dates the book as 1840 or 1841 is based on the copy in the British Museum. After the first self published edition, the poem was only available for many years in pirated editions and i'm not 100% sure whether this particular edition is another pirate or not. All of these illegal versions and the first self published edition are worth $$...

This is another one of those books that I am pleased to have found, not just because of the $ value, but because this title has an interesting publishing history contemporary with this edition. From experience this $ value wont necessarily translate into real $ in the near future. It's a long term investment that I now have.

No comments:

Post a Comment