An Important Midwestern Book - "the first important book of poems printed west of the Alleghenies"

    William Littell. Festoons of Fancy, Consisting of Compositions Amatory, Sentimental and Humorous, in Verse and Prose. Louisville: From the Press of William Farquar, 1814. Title-leaf, 180 pages (pages 3-10, 13-18 and 179 in facsimile). Original calf, varnished, leather label. Text somewhat soiled and stained. A sound copy.

    One of the great rarities of early Midwestern books. The author, William Littell, was a prominent Kentucky lawyer with a taste for satire and poetics. His first published work, An Epistle from William, Surnamed Littell, to the People of the Realm of Kentucky, was issued in Frankfort in 1806 and reprinted in Festoons of Fancy... According to the DAB, these works were "of such a character to bring him into disrepute and to give him a reputation for flippancy and scurrility that he never succeeded in living down." In fact, they are lively political satire, and it seems unlikely that Littell suffered the castigation that the priggish DAB biographer suggests. "Festoons of Fancy is not only the first important book of poems printed west of the Alleghenies, but it is almost certainly the first book of any kind printed in Louisville" - Streeter. Howes calls it "the first humorous book produced West of the Alleghanies [sic]."

    Streeter Sale 1648. Howes L378, "C." Graff 2508. Aii (Kentucky) 507. Kentucky Hundred 35. Jillson, p. 52. Coleman, Kentucky Rarities 78.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
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