SYMONDS, John Addington. In the Key of Blue and other Prose Essays. London and New York: Elkin Mathews & John Lane and Macmillan & Company, 1893.
Original full vellum designed by Charles Ricketts, decorated and lettered in gilt; pp. [vii], 302; head of spine with a minor scuffing, gold a little faded from spine, front inner hinge stengthened, a few of the entirely uncut margins a little browned.
First edition, one of 50 large paper copies of this collection of essays, several of which reflect the author's travels in Italy. The trade issue appeared in cloth.
John Addington Symonds (1840—1893) was a celebrated poet, essayist and thinker. 'His specific contribution to the regeneration of society was as a pioneer in the field of gay rights; he was the first modern historian of (male) homosexuality, and the first advocate of gay liberation in Britain. When he read Plato's Phaedrus and Symposium in 1858, he realized that the ignoble behaviour of his fellow schoolboys at Harrow had an illustrious past, and when he read Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass in 1865 he became convinced that comradeship had the potential for a no less illustrious future' (Victor Norton, The Life and Writings of John Addington Symonds, online).