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Title: The Works of William Hay, Esq.
Description: London: Printed by J. Nichols; and sold by J. Dodsley..., 1794. FIRST COLLECTED EDITION. 2 volumes. 4to, 228 x 227 mms., pp. [ii], xxiii [xxiv blank], 316; iii [iv blan], 282, engraved portrait frontispiece, printed on fine paper, handsomely bound in contemporary straight-grain red morocco, gilt borders on covers, with gilt fleurons in each corner of an inner gilt border, gilt rules across pines, black morocco labels, all edges gilt; extremities slightly worn, corners crushed, spines sun-faded, but an attractive set. As ODNB notes, Hay (1695 - 1775) was regarded by his contemporaries as a poet, but he is now seen as an early reformer of poor law: "Remarks on the Laws Relating to the Poor, which was reprinted in 1751, advocated an ambitious reform on the basis of the 'union' of parishes. Thereafter he was the driving force behind a number of parliamentary initiatives aimed at poor law reform. Almost all of these failed, but despite this Hay, more than any other person, helped to determine the framework of the debate, both in parliament and in the press, in the middle years of the eighteenth century." Born a hunchback dwarf, he nevertheless manage to write about his deformity with courage, eloquence, and wit, in Deformity, An Essay, first published in 1754 and reprinted in these volumes. The British Critic, reviewing these volumes in 1795 reflected on his achievement, saying, "...it is no dishonour to his memory to observe, that the appearance of his writings in their present splendid dress, will not so much increase the author's fame as exhibit an honourable memorial of the publisher's affection and gratitude." The Monthly Review took very much the same attitudes, commenting favourably on the good sense and good humour exhibited in his writings, adding that "... the Essay on Deformity, had both the merit in the novelty of the subject, and a peculiar happiness in the way of treating it, principally arising from the amiable naiveté with which the writer continually alludes to his own case." Essay on Deformity has been examined, analyzed, and "deconstructed" in a large number of scholarly articles in the past thirty years.

Keywords: poetry aesthetics literature

Price: GBP 825.00 = appr. US$ 1178.09 Seller: John Price Antiquarian Books
- Book number: 9543

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