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OP: A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig

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by Charles Lamb

Sampson Low, Marston, and Company, London, c. 1885. Hardcover. Very Good, no jacket as issued.

Charles Lamb (1775–1834) was an acclaimed essayist and one of the 19th century literati, associating with the likes of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and William Hazlitt.

Originally published in 1822 under the pen name Elia in London Magazine, A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig is one of Lamb’s most famous essays. This humorous, faux historical account of the origin of cooked pig begins with the assertion that a haphazard youngster in China, while playing with fire, burns down the family mansion, along with a new litter of pigs. Seduced by the smell, the child scorches his fingers on the charred pig remains and cools them in his mouth, becoming the first in the world to taste crackling. 

Our copy is illustrated by C. O. Murray and printed in vibrant color by R. Paterson. (A note of warning: the illustrations and some of the text lean on racist caricatures to portray the Chinese characters). Overall, Very Good with light shelfwear. Issued without dust jacket. The front pastedown bears the label of former Brighton, Sussex bookseller D. B. Friend & Co, which shuttered in 1902. Bound in teal cloth with gilt lettering on the spine, a gilt illustration on the cover, and gilt page edges, it is a handsome volume of a late 19th century classic.

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