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Ingoldsby, Thomas (Richard Harris Barham). THE INGOLDSBY LEGENDS OR MIRTH AND MARVELS. London: Richard Bentley, 1840; 1842; 1847. First edition. Hardcover. 3 vol. 8vo. [3], iv-v, [4], 2-338, [4]; [5], vi-vii, [4], 2-288, [2]; [5], iv-vi, [3], 2-364, [2] pp. Full contemporary red morocco, spines in six compartments with gilt decorations and lettering, boards ruled in gilt; all edges gilt. Bound by John Bumpus, a Victorian bookseller and bookbinder. Volume one illustrated with a decorated title page and decorative initials, and six additional plates, (etchings). Volume two with a decorative title page, seven etched plates, three in-text woodcuts, and numerous decorative initials. Volume three with a decorative title page, and six additional plates, two of which are portraits of the author, Richard Barham (the other four are etchings, two by George Cruikshank, and two by John Leech). George Cruikshank, John Leech, and John Tenniel all contributed to the illustrations for the Ingoldsby series. Engraved bookplate of William Forbes Morgan (ca. 1900) on the front pastedowns. A Very Good or better set with the rear joint of volume one discreetly restored, a tiny spot of wear to a raised band on volume three; plates (and a few leaves) show scattered foxing. Kunitz 34-35. NCBEL 365. Packer 25. Sadleir 27-29. Our First Series contains what Sadleir purports to be the earliest version of the error on page 236: "In what order should these be ranged? From the point of view of publishing procedure (though without any authority) I suggest the most likely sequence to have been as follows (a) Private, with incomplete Ballad; (b) Public, ditto; (c) Public, with 236 blank ... (d) Public, with Ballad complete". Our copy of the first series corresponds with the Privately printed First Series in a few respects: its title page is printed in dark purple and black ink like the private edition, and it contains the incomplete ballad on page 236, like the private edition. We therefore consider our First Series to be the first issue of the first trade edition. Our Second Series corresponds with Sadleir's description of the first edition of the Second Series in every way, except the final etching lacks the imprint dated 1843. Our Series Three copy corresponds exactly with Sadleir's stated points. Volume three contains a biography of Barham. The Ingoldsby Legends were far and away Barham's most successful publication. Barham was an English clergyman, humorist, and writer. Kunitz refers to Barham's writings and Barham himself as "unmistakably Kentish". Some of the ghost stories contained in the First Series are said to be from a Mrs. Hughes, an enormous influence on Barham's career. She pushed him to complete and publish his first novel, My Cousin Nicholas. The Ingoldsby stories were first published in Bentley's Miscellany, a magazine, in the late 1830s. They were edited by Charles Dickens. Richard Bentley, a friend of Barham, decided to release them in book form. Barham's series contains ghost stories, short literary prose, a poem grieving the death of his son, and general parodies of English life. Though largely popular, Barham's work was sometimes criticized for its parody of the Pope and Catholic doctrine. An avid drinker and cat lover (only writing when a cat attended him), Barham is remembered largely for The Ingoldsby Legends (a work once so popular, an average schoolboy would have passages memorized). A finely bound, beautiful set of a landmark in humorous English prose.

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