by COLERIDGE, Samuel Taylor
1848. COLERIDGE, S. T. HINTS TOWARDS THE FORMATION OF A MORE COMPREHENSIVE THEORY OF LIFE. Edited by Seth B. Watson, M.D. [...] Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1848. First American edition (Haney, 76), the same year as the English first. [1-7]-94, [2, blank] pp., +  ff. publisher's ads. Tall 12mo., signed 1-86, 19.5 x 12.2 cm. Contemporary binding of brown ribbed cloth with a printed paper label ("Coleridge's Idea of Life") on the upper board. Cloth is chipped along spine and the label (only) is dampstained. Early ink ownership (J. J. Merriam) on ffep. Some scattered, light foxing throughout. Very good. The authenticity of this work was questioned immediately upon publication because Wise (Colerdidge, no. 92) notes that later issues of the London first edition included a Postscript, dated 17 October 1848, addressing the issue: "The editor [B. Watson] deems it right to state that [...] circumstances arose which lead to the belief that the work with more propriety be considered as the joint production of Mr. Coleridge and the late Mr. James Gillman, of Highgate." Watson had acknowledged "the late Rev. James Gillman, Incumbent at Trinity, Lambeth" in the Advertisement of this volume, along with two others, for "their great kindness in regard to" his publication. However, when the work was reprinted in 1885 in Coleridge's MISCELLANIES, AESTHETIC AND LITERARY, the editor, T. Ashe, defends and restores the sole attribution to Coleridge, downplaying Gillman's contribution ("Gillman may have made some verbal changes, or filled up some lacunae, in the Essay, but we strongly incline to think that it contains extremely little by his hand.") and citing Sara Coleridge's tacit acceptance of the work as being wholly her father's when discussing its critical reception in a letter to a friend (pp. 351-352). Scarce.
(Inventory #: 89230)