HELPS (Sir ARTHUR) The manuscript of 'Friends in Council', new series, the printer's copy, [1859]
Lot 88
HELPS (Sir ARTHUR) The manuscript of 'Friends in Council', new series, the printer's copy, [1859]
Sold for £1,750 (US$ 2,746) inc. premium

Lot Details
HELPS (Sir ARTHUR)
The manuscript of 'Friends in Council', new series, the printer's copy, marked up with compositors' names, casting off marks and instructions in pen and ink and pencil and with compositors' ink smudges throughout, the body of the work in three or four scribal hands (one remarkably similar to Thackeray's upright hand) with extensive autograph revisions and additions by Helps himself mostly in pencil; no chapter headings occur in the manuscript, 2 vol., approximately 760 pages, mostly written on one side of the leaf, (section of a letter by Helps bound in), Helps's bookplates, dustmarks, library location numbers, original roan-backed boards, rubbed, gilt spine titles, 4to, [1859]

Footnotes

  • Friends in Council, published in 1847-1849 and in 1859, met with much critical acclaim and achieved considerable popularity. It 'took the form of discourses on social, political, and literary topics, each delivered by one of an imaginary coterie of congenial associates, followed by a discussion by members of the group. The format was inspired both by the Cambridge Conversazione Society (the Apostles), to which Helps had been elected in 1833, and by the conversations among distinguished visitors to Vernon Hill, who included Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, and Charles Kingsley. A compilation of contemporary commonplaces, written in a prolix style, Friends in Council was much admired at the time, especially by distinguished authors. Subsequently it lost its appeal, but more than a century after publication again gained favour among academic writers as a source of brief illustrative quotations' (ODNB).

    In Modern Painters, Ruskin (to whom parts of the second series of Friends in Council were dedicated in the printed book) thought Helps 'a true thinker' and called attention to Helps's 'beautiful quiet English and the sincerity and practical purpose of his thinking.' Among other publications, Helps edited Queen Victoria's Leaves from our Life in the Highlands. The new series contains chapters on worry, war, criticism, biography, proverbs, the arts of self-advancement, on the miseries of human life, government, pleasantness, despotism and the need for tolerance and other subjects. Helps (1813-1875) was Clerk of the Privy Council.

    Spot checks in the first two chapters of the first volume reveal significant differences between the manuscript and printed versions including in Chapter I on p. 4v, p. 5, pp. 24-25, and pp. 36-37, and in Chapter II on pp. 7-15. There are also silent omissions and additions. See illustration on preceding page.
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