Sale  873
Lot   220
SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe (1792-1822). Autograph letter signed ("P. B. S."), to Charles Ollier. Florence, Italy, 15 December 1819. 

3 pages, square 4to, on a bifolium, addressed on an integral leaf, postmarked 28 December 1819, dampstaining to one corner, significant show-through, some inkburn, a few tiny holes, 4-in tear.  FROM THE COLLECTION OF CHARLES W. FREDERICKSON, and sold, his sale, Bangs, 29 May 1897, Lot 2353 (described as "badly stained").

"MY PROMETHEUS IS THE BEST THING I EVER WROTE."

Shelley writes to his publisher Charles Ollier (1788-1859) about Prometheus Unbound: "When the box comes, you may write a note to Mr. Peacock; or it would be better to call on him, and ask if my tragedy is accepted? If not, publish what you find in the box.  I think it will succeed as a publication. Let 'Prometheus' be printed without delay. You will receive the additions, which Mrs. S. is now transcribing, in a few days. It has already been read to many persons. My Prometheus is the best thing I ever wrote."

Shelley began writing his masterpiece Prometheus Unbound, in early September 1818, but stopped work on the poem following the death of his daughter Clara Everina Shelley later in the month.  He began work on the poem again in early 1819, and had finished the majority of the poem by April of that year.  He had the work transcribed in September 1819, and sent the manuscript for the first three acts to England in December 1819. The work was published by Ollier 1820, but Shelley found it to be full of printer's errors. 

Shelley also discusses future publications: "I mean to write three other poems, the scenes of which will be laid at Rome, Florence, and Naples, but the subjects of which will be all drawn from dreadful or beautiful realities... I am [also] preparing an octavo on reform, --a commonplace kind of book,-- which...I shall not trouble myself to finish for this season. I intend it to be an instructive and readable book, appealing from the passions to the reason of men." Published in: The Best Letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shirley Carter Hughson, editor. Chicago: A. C. McClurg and Company, 1892, pp. 231-233. 

Property from Historic Sengen House, Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York
  • Estimate$3,000 - $4,000

Sold for $27,500

Sold prices are inclusive of Buyer’s Premium