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The Times/1906/News/Dr. Garnett's Library

< The Times‎ | 1906

The sale of the late Dr. Richard Garnett's library, which was announced in the The Times in July last, has been fixed for December 6, and Messrs. Sotheby, Wilkinson, and Hodge's catalogue of it enumerates 395 lots. It forms one of the most interesting libraries which have been put up for sale in recent years.

Three lots consist of as many note-books of Percy B. Shelley, containing manuscript matter of the highest interest, of which a considerable portion is unpublished. Those note-books were given by Shelley's widow to her son, Sir Percy Shelley, and he and Lady Shelley gave them to Dr. Garnett. All the other note-books of the poet are in the Bodleian Library, and it seems a pity that these three note-books are not in some public institution. The published and unpublished matter in each note-book is clearly set out by Mr. W. M. Rossetti; the first book contains five pieces of unpublished matter, in the second there are ten, and in the third six. They appear to be ideas, passing thoughts, and lines noted down by the poet at odd times and in different places, and possibly if they were published would not add much to the poet's reputation as a thinker and a poet; but the mere fact that they are Shelley's gives them a very great literary and commercial value. There are also nearly 100 volumes of editions and "Lives" of Shelley, some of which are presentation copies, while others are manuscript notes.

The collection of modern poetry is an extensive one, and the library is also rich in books and pamphlets relating to the British Museum, in books on bibliography, astrology, and palmistry, biography and history, in the publications of the Appledore and other private presses, and in the Transactions and Proceedings of various societies, and an unusually large number of presentation copies with autograph inscriptions. Dr. Garnett's own books also figure in the catalogue, there being, among others, a copy of his first work, "Primula: A Book of Lyrics," 1858, an exceedingly scarce book, with numerous manuscript notes and corrections by the author. Of the several books by Coventry Patmore, the most interesting is a presentation copy from the author to Dr. Garnett of "Odes," privately printed in 1868 for distribution among a few friends; nearly the whole of this edition was burnt by the author himself. One "lot" consists of 42 volumes of tracts and pamphlets on a great variety of topics, many being presentation copies.