A History of the Earth and Animated Nature, Vol. 1 and 2; 1866

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Authors: Oliver Goldsmith
Size (WxDxH): 7 x 2 x 9.75 inches each
Medium: Antiquarian Book
Year: 1866


A History of the Earth and Animated Nature by Oliver Goldsmith 2 Volumes. With numerous notes from the works of the most distinguished British and foreign naturalists. Illustrated by upwards of the two thousand figures. Published by Blackie and Son, Paternoster Row, London 1866. Vol. I has 568 pages, uncoloured frontispiece, coloured title, 12 uncoloured plates, 1 map, and 13 coloured plates. Vol. II with 663 pages including directions to the binder at the rear, uncoloured frontispiece, coloured title, 21 uncoloured plates and 23 coloured plates. The beautiful hand-coloured plates have unusual delicacy of colour detail.

Background History:
This work of natural history was first published in 1774 in eight volumes. It brought together a history of the earth with a description of its geographical features and many of its species. Further editions of the work were published in the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century. These were often abridged versions of the original, in two, three, four or six volumes like this one. The author, Oliver Goldsmith, was an Irish novelist, poet and journalist. He is now best known for his 1766 novel, The Vicar of Wakefield. “Much has been recorded concerning his youth, his unhappy years as an undergraduate at Trinity College, Dublin,…and his many misadventures before he left Ireland in the autumn of 1752 to study in the medical school at Edinburgh…—but he took no degree while at Edinburgh nor, so far as anyone knows, during the two-year period when, despite his meagre funds, which were eventually exhausted, he somehow managed to make his way through Europe. The first period of his life ended with his arrival in London, bedraggled and penniless, early in 1756. Goldsmith’s rise from total obscurity was a matter of only a few years. He worked …as a hack writer—reviewing, translating, and compiling… It remains amazing that this young Irish vagabond, unknown, uncouth, unlearned, and unreliable, was yet able within a few years to climb from obscurity to mix with aristocrats and the intellectual elite of London. Such a rise was possible because Goldsmith had one quality, soon noticed by booksellers and the public, that his fellow literary hacks did not possess—the gift of a graceful, lively, and readable style.” - Britannica

Good condition. Contemporary half calf with gilt lettering and embossed vignettes of a lion, bird and butterfly in compartments. Volume 2 with minor worming in tail margin, occasional browning to text, corners and foot of spine rubbed. Black and white engravings have bled through to the facing pages in both volumes. Corners bumped and scuffed.