Eliot, George (MARY ANNE EVANS). 1819-1880. Scenes of Clerical Life. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1858.

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Lot 265
Eliot, George (MARY ANNE EVANS). 1819-1880.
Scenes of Clerical Life. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1858.

Sold for US$ 3,570 inc. premium

Fine Books and Manuscripts

13 Jun 2019, 13:00 EDT

New York

Eliot, George (MARY ANNE EVANS). 1819-1880.
Scenes of Clerical Life. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1858.
2 volumes. 8vo (200 x 120 mm). Half-titles. Publisher's dark maroon cloth by Edmonds and Remnants of London, with their label in volume 1, the cloth titled in gilt and stamped in blind. Some light marginal discoloration, text blocks cracked at center, spines rubbed and light wear to extremities, rear joint vol 1 split. each volume in cloth chemise, morocco-backed slipcase, spines lettered in gilt.
Provenance: Isaac Evans (1816-1890, George Eliot's estranged older brother); [Reverend] W[illiam] Griffith, with signature and address on half title volume, "W.Griffiths, Shelsey Rectory, February 1891 ... This copy of the First edition of the Scenes of Clerical Life came to me from Mr Evans' Library at Griff, and was valued at 2 Pounds.10.0"; Frederick R.Evans (Isaac's son), further inscribed on half-title below "Given to me by WG & EG June 1, 1900. FRE."

AN IMPORTANT ELIOT FAMILY COPY OF GEORGE ELIOT'S FIRST NOVEL, owned by Mary's estranged brother Isaac, and subsequently passed down to his daughter Edith's husband, the Rev. William Griffith, after Isaac's death in 1890, and then given to Isaac's son Frederick in 1900. The schism between Mary and her elder brother Isaac started, it would appear, when Isaac pressured his father's employer Charles Newdigate to take over his father's job as land agent in 1841, and, at the same time moved Mary and his mother and father out of their family house, Griff House near Nuneaton, England. After Mary's refusal to go to church with her father in 1842, followed by Mary's flight to Germany in 1854 with the married George Henry Lewes, a scandal in Victorian times, the break between brother and sister was complete and absolute. Although Isaac's daughter Edith quietly visited Mary in London on occasion, the siblings barely corresponded for over 30 years. So It is therefore surprising, given their animosity, that Isaac would have acquired this copy of the first edition of Scenes of Clerical Life in the first place, presumably in 1858. Isaac became the inspiration for the character Tom in the Mill on the Floss, Eliot's major novel about estranged siblings, published in 1860. Sadleir deems this, her first work of fiction, to be one of the rarest of Eliot's works, with just 1,050 copies printed. Sadleir 818.
Contacts
Eliot, George (MARY ANNE EVANS). 1819-1880. Scenes of Clerical Life. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1858.
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