Important acquisitions

Atalanta in Calydon

Author Swinburne, Algernon Charles
Title Atalanta in Calydon
Imprint Kelmscott: Kelmscot Press-
Date of Publication 1894
Language English
Notes The Library has an almost complete set of publications of the Kelmscott Press, the acquisition of this fine copy leaves only 2 more to acquire (1 of which was privately printed and not available for public sale). The publication of "Atalanta in Calydon" in 1865 brought the budding poet Swinburne both fame and notoriety in equal measure. The work is based on the ancient Greek myth of the huntress Atalanta, who takes part in the hunt of the ferocious Calydonian boar and becomes inadvertently embroiled in a family conflict which leads to the death of the hero Meleager, caused by his own mother. Swinburne wrote a verse drama, using the structure of an Classical Greek tragedy, complete with Chorus and semi-Chorus, and formal dialogue. Although Classical Greek in content and form Swinburne uses the drama to challenge not just the religious acquiescence to the will of the gods portrayed in the Classical Greek tragedies but also by implication Victorian attitudes to God and Christianity. As a keen admirer of the Kelmscott Press, Swinburne wrote to Morris after the publication of "Atalanta" in July 1894 that it was "certainly one of the loveliest examples of even your incomparable press". Morris too was pleased with the book, of which 250 copies were produced on paper and 6 on vellum, and which sold out within a few weeks. The publication is also unusual as it is the only KP book in which Morris used a type not designed by himself. To reproduce the Greek text which appears at the start of work, Morris used electrotypes of a Greek type designed by the artist and designer Selwyn Image. This particular copy, as well as being in fine, almost mint, condition, is bound in early twentieth century blue morocco with gilt ornamentation by the famous bookdbing firm of Birdsall & Sons of Northampton.
Shelfmark KP.6
Reference Sources Peterson A25
Acquired on 21/07/04
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