YOUNG, Edward. Complaint, and The Consolation; or, Night Thoughts.

(London): Printed by R. Noble, for R. Edwards , 1797. First edition. Folio (43.5cm by 35cm). [2 blank] viii, [2], 95, [2, blank] pp. A collection of extended poetic mediations with forty-three copperplate engravings by William Blake surrounding the letterpress text. With the often lacking “Explanation of the Engravings” present. Edward Young’s immensely popular Night Thoughts first appeared in 1742-1745. He eventually extended the poem to nine “Nights,” though only the first four were illustrated by Blake. For this, his most ambitious and spectacular work to date, Blake spent two years creating over five hundred drawings, of which only forty-three were ever engraved. Baffled by the novelty of Blake’s illustrations, the public did not receive the edition favorably. Nevertheless, the plates are “splendid examples of plain line engraving done by an artist whose creative energy sought to burst through” (Keynes, William Blake's Engravings, p. 12). A large uncut copy in contemporary half leather over marbled boards. Gilt lettering to spine. Front board detached but present, rear board seperating. A handsome unsophisticated copy of this classic work.


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