KEATS, John (1795-1821). Endymion: A Poetic Romance. London: Taylor and Hessey, 1818.
8° (220 x 140). Errata slip containing five errata tipped onto erratum leaf, A6. 2 advertisement leaves dated May, 1818, at end. (Some light spotting, a few light creasemarks, scribble at head of B7v.) Uncut in original drab boards with paper label (label worn at head with loss of letter 'E' in 'Endymion', spine a little rubbed at head and more so at foot, joints and corners lightly rubbed); 20th-century black morocco slipcase with red morocco interior and blue cloth chemise. Provenance: occasional pencil scoring and corrections.
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE of this poem in four books, telling the story of Endymion, the 'brain-sick shephered-prince' of Mt. Latmos, with whom the moon goddess (Cynthia, Phoebe) falls in love. 'Inscribed to the memory of Thomas Chatterton,' it appeared at the end of April 1818, with the price of 9s. on the paper spine label. Although 'greeted with some enthusiasm by a few well-disposed reviewers,' the author's new-found enemies, particularly J.G. Lockhart in Blackwood's Magazine and J.W. Croker in the Quarterly, treated it with 'overwhelming ridicule and contempt.' Even Hunt failed to mention the poem in the Examiner until the next autumn. If the poem was, as Keats himself said, 'a feverish attempt rather than a deed accomplished,' the opening 24 lines are among the most memorable he ever wrote. The second issue has A6 cancelled and the five additional errata printed on A6r. Ashley III, p. 13; Hayward 232; MacGillivray 2.