London: Bernard Quaritch, 1893. Three volumes. Large, thick octavo. Original green cloth, spines and upper covers elaborately decorated in pictorial gilt after designs by Blake, t.e.g., others untrimmed. Portrait, facsimiles, and plates. Spines somewhat rubbed and dull, some shelfwear to joints and lower edges and bumps and wear to fore-tips, endsheets a bit foxed and cloth a bit handsoiled, some cracking and subtle repairs to inner hinges; still, not a wholly disagreeable set of a work particularly susceptible to such issues. Item #WRCLIT73714
First edition. One of five hundred sets comprising the regular paper issue. Controversial in its interpretation of Blake's texts, this work nonetheless remains, in this issue and binding, something of a landmark of 1890s book production. "The enthusiasm and comprehensiveness of this work are of considerable historical importance" - Bentley. Wade quotes Yeats's inscription in his own copy about the nature of this collaboration: "The writing of this book is mainly Ellis's, the thinking is as much mine as his. The biography is by him. He re-wrote and trebled in size a biography of mine. The greater part of the 'symbolic system' is my writing; the rest of the book was written by Ellis working over short accounts of the books by me, except in the case of the 'literary period' the account of the minor poems, & the account of Blake's art theories which are all his own except in so far as we discussed everything together...." WADE 218. BENTLEY 369.