"the most valuable of all the contemporary accounts"
CLARENDON, EDWARD HYDE, Earl of. The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England, Begun in the Year 1641. With the precedent Passages, and Actions, that contributed thereunto, and the happy End, and Conclusion thereof by the King’s blessed Restoration
Oxford: Printed at the Theater, 1702-1704
Three volumes. Tall folio. Engraved frontispiece portrait and vignette title page in each volume. Contemporary mottled calf, gilt-paneled boards, spines extensively tooled in gilt. Minor wear. A magnificent set
FIRST EDITION. A magnificent set of Clarendon’s History of the Rebellion, “the most valuable of all the contemporary accounts of the Civil Wars. … His characters are not simply bundles of characteristics, but consistent and full of life, sketched sometimes with affection, sometimes with light humor” (DNB).
“Since its publication at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Earl of Clarendon’s history of the English Civil War has remained one of the most important sources for our understanding of the events which changed the course of British history… [It] chronicles in absorbing detail the intrigues and upheavals, the alliances and confrontations, the triumphs and the tragedies, of the 1640s and 1650s. In elegant and vital prose it brings to life the personalities who shaped the era, and the principles for which a nation was divided” (Oxford University Press).
This work has “remained in the mind because of his literary achievement the fashioning of the most sophisticated and finely balanced history yet written in English (or written for a long time afterwards) and for an unmistakable rhetorical voice. Clarendon’s writings and his own life were steeped in the literary stoicism of the early seventeenth century; but in the History he created a distinctive work of art based on a highly wrought style, a forensic dissection of character and issue, and a sense of the depth of individuals’ moral responsibility for their action” (ODNB).
This is a superbly bound set of the imposing first edition, one of the most finely printed English books up to its time.