Curiosities of Literature by Isaac D'Israeli...Illustrated by Bolton CorneyCORNEY, Bolton
Greenwich: Printed by Especial Command. [Frederick Shoberl]. n.d. .
First edition. Presentation copy to Viscount Melbourne. 8vo (194x120mm). pp. [viii], 160. Original green buckram rebacked with original spine laid down, lettered and decorated in gilt to the spine. Bumping to the corners and edges. Spine cracked internally but holding and this is overall a nice copy of a book described by the author as “strictly ESOTERIC”. The half title is inscribed “The Viscount Melbourne with the Author’s Respects”. Melbourne was Prime Minister at the time.
D’Israeli’s Curiosities of Literature was an enormously popular work in the nineteenth century. It contained anecdotes about historical figures and events, unusual books, and the habits of book-collectors. Bolton Corney (1784-1870) was a bibliomane. Every room in his house was lined with books and they were piled four or five high on the floor. He was a member of the council of the Shakspere Society (sic) and the Camden Society, and one of the auditors of the Royal Literary Fund. The present book describes him as “Honorary Professor of Criticism in the Républiques des Lettres and member of The Society of English Bibliophiles”. In 1837, Corney published this short but scathing criticism of D’Israeli’s most popular work. It has been described as D’Israeli “not so much "Illustrated" as attacked”. The following year, D'Israeli responded to Corney's criticisms in a work entitled “The Illustrator Illustrated”.