14 June 2006
SHELLEY, Percy B. Epipsychidion: Verses addressed to the Noble and Unfortunate Lady Emilia V_____ Now Imprisoned in the Convent of _____. London: S.& R.Bentley for C.& J.Ollier, 1821.
8o. Half-title. (Small stain in upper margin of last few leaves.) Late 19th-century blue morocco, t..e.g. (some light rubbing to extremities). Provenance: Roland L. Redmond (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION, RARE, ONE OF ONLY 100 COPIES PRINTED. Shelley sent the poem about Emilia Viviani, the "noble and unfortunate lady" he had met in December 1820, to his publisher on February 16, 1821, requesting that it be published anonymously. Shortly after it was issued, Shelley became disenchanted with it (and with Emilia) and tried to suppress the edition.
The poem contains the slightly veiled history of Shelley's love relationships, including his cousin Harriet Westbrook, Mary Shelley, Mary's step-sister Claire Clairmont, as well as Emilia. The "Advertisement" at the beginning contains a prophetic foreshadowing of Shelley's death by drowning. Ashley V, p. 77; Forman Shelley 63; Granniss 62.
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