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The Hurricane: A Theosophical and Western Eclogue. To Which is Subjoined, A Solitary Effusion in a Summer Evening

William Gilbert

Published by R. Edwards, Bristol, 1796
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Old Book Shop of Bordentown (ABAA, ILAB) (Bordentown, NJ, U.S.A.)

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First edition. 12mo. in apparently somewhat later dark green half leather over marbled paper covered boards. vii+ 104 pp. plus printer's advert as final leaf. Spine of the binding is well scuffed but the text is clean and free of foxing. Rare (Worldcat locates only 6 copies, 2 in the U.S. and 4 in Australia). A copy was sold at auction in 1870 as part of the John Asaph Rice collection and was in the catalog as "very rare". William Gilbert (1763-ca.1825) , a native of the British West Indies (Antigua), came to England to work as a lawyer but was instituionalized at an asylum in Bristol after a mental breakdown around 1788. After his release, he went to London and worked as an astrologer and maker of magic talismans, returning to Bristol in 1795. He became friendly with Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge and members of the early Romantic period praised "The Hurricane" at time of publication (although Southey called Gilbert "the most insane person I have ever known". Gilbert left England in 1798 to go to Africa to search for an obscure tribe with whom he claimed spiritual affinity; despite Coleridge's efforts to find him, Gilbert was never heard from again. "The Hurricane" is a blank verse poem of 450 lines, ostensibly about the stillness before a storm and the subsequent shipwreck during that storm; the sole survivor, found by the work's poet-narrator (who has asked for "love and nature's offspring pure" to join him in his "bower of love') is beached on Antigua, a "mildly-beaming angel form" named Elmira. In Gilbert's comments in the preface (and expanded upon in his extensive "Notes" section), he states that the work is grounded on a theospohical view of the relations between America and Europe. (Thanks to and Romantic Circles.). Bookseller Inventory # E18154

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Hurricane: A Theosophical and Western ...

Publisher: R. Edwards, Bristol

Publication Date: 1796

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Edition: First edition.

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