Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1908. Twenty-five octavo volumes, contemporary full blue morocco gilt, boards triple-ruled in gilt, raised bands, spines lettered in gilt, pale blue endpapers, blue silk ribbon markers, top edges gilt, other edges uncut and partially unopened. Title pages printed in red and black. Illustrated with photogravures throughout text, many in color. Four-page ALS by George Eliot dated April 19, 1873 tipped into Volume I.
Deluxe illustrated large-paper edition of George Eliot's writings, number 10 of 750 copies, handsomely bound at the Riverside Press. This set includes all of Eliot's major works, including Scenes of Clerical Life, Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Romola, Daniel Deronda, and Middlemarch: “If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity.” Also included are Eliot’s poetry, essays, letters, and journals, as well as a short life of the author. Tipped into the first volume is a four-page 1873 letter, written by George Eliot as M.E. Lewes on her house stationery at The Priory, Regent's Park. Eliot writes on behalf of herself and her longtime companion, George Henry Lewes, seeking a country house for the fall: “The search for a house is always a difficulty, the precise thing one needs seeming of course to be the rarest kind. . . . We desire perfect seclusion & yet nearness to a town -- what is our house, in fact, only that our scale would be much smaller.” The couple would eventually let a house called Blackbrook in Kent, which despite its idyllic location proved inconvenient. They reluctantly returned to London that fall: “In the country, the days have broad spaces, and the very stillness seems to give a delightful roominess to the hours.” A fine set, including a handwritten letter on one of the great domestic themes by one of the great domestic novelists.