Rural Letters and Other Records of Thought at Leisure
by N. Parker Willis
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Publisher: Kerr,Doughty & Lapham, Detroit
This volume contains Letters from Under a Bridge, Open Air Musings in the City, Invalid Rambles in Germany, Letters from Watering Places, etc.
Nathaniel Parker Willis (January 20, 1806 – January 20, 1867), also known as N. P. Willis, was an American author, poet and editor who worked with several notable American writers including Edgar Allan Poe and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He became the highest-paid magazine writer of his day. For a time, he was the employer of former slave and future writer Harriet Jacobs.
Born in Portland, Maine, Willis came from a family of publishers. His grandfather Nathaniel Willis owned newspapers in Massachusetts and Virginia, and his father Nathaniel Willis was the founder of Youth’s Companion, the first newspaper specifically for children. Willis developed an interest in literature while attending Yale College and began publishing poetry. After graduation, he worked as an overseas correspondent for the New York Mirror. He started his own publication, the Home Journal, which was eventually renamed Town & Country. Shortly after, Willis moved to a home on the Hudson River where he lived a semi-retired life until his death in 1867.
Willis embedded his own personality into his writing and addressed his readers personally, specifically in his travel writings, so that his reputation was built in part because of his character. Critics, including his sister in her novel Ruth Hall, occasionally described him as being effeminate and Europeanized. Willis also published several poems, tales, and a play. Despite his intense popularity for a time, at his death Willis was nearly forgotten.
Condition: This book is in decent condition for its age. Hardcover. Embossed boards with lovely initial motif. Cover is discolored and shows signs of shelf wear. Spine gilt has faded. Text block is mostly clean with some scattered foxing. There is a brown ink inscription on front endpaper. Hinges are cracked. Back hinge/spine have detached from binding. Very legible. Binding is square.