Glasgow: Blackie and Son, . Two volumes. 8vo. xxviii, 564; viii, 664 pp. Each volume with frontispiece and additional engraved title. With 35 full-page engraved plates (1 folding) and numerous text woodcuts. Diced russia, spine labels (torn on Volume 2); interiors with some spotting and light foxing to preliminaries and last few leaves. Item #12202
The editors of this edition chose “to publish the History of the Earth and Animated Nature without transposition of any kind, but to supply, in the shape of notes, whatever was found necessary for the correction or illustration of the text, including descriptions of the different systematic arrangements of the Animal Kingdom adopted by the more distinguished naturalists. By this method, the reader would have the satisfaction of possessing, in its entire and unaltered state, the celebrated work of Goldsmith, accompanied, at the same time, by a fund of additional matter, which would bring down the history of the subjects treated of, and all the recent important discoveries connected therewith, to the present day” (from the preface).
Goldsmith (1728-74) was the son of a Church of England clergyman who later served as a model for the preacher in The deserted village. Goldsmith studied at Trinity College in Dublin, where he barely earned his B.A. in medicine. After being rejected for the clergy, a generous uncle sent him to Edinburgh University to study medicine, but instead of taking a degree, he traveled through Europe. It is from these travels that Goldsmith drew the inspiration for his great novel, The Vicar of Wakefield. He later returned impoverished to London where he initially practiced medicine, and later devoted his full time to writing. Throughout his life he struggled with a bad gambling habit, leaving him more often than not impoverished, and with a debt of over £2000 after his death.