Oliver Wendell Holmes Set, Poet, Professor, Autocrat, Breakfast Table, 1895


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The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table; Every Man His Own Boswell
The Poet at the Breakfast Table; He Talks With His Fellow Boarders and the Reader
The Professor at the Breakfast Table, With the Story of Iris
by Oliver Wendell Holmes



Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin And Company

Copyright: 1895


This set is in good condition. Hardcover. These are antiquarian books that have had a long and illustrious journey through time. Please take a look at the pictures to ascertain the condition and state of these books. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Red cloth boards are lightly worn along edges and corners. Hinges tight. Binding sturdy. Each book has a frontispiece. There is an ink inscription dated Christmas 1895 on the flyleaf. The text block is crisp and clean. -


The Breakfast Table Series. The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858) is a collection of essays written by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. The essays were originally published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1857 and 1858 before being collected in book form. The author had written two essays with the same name which were published in the earlier The New-England Magazine in November 1831 and February 1832, which are alluded to in a mention of an "interruption" at the start of the first essay. The essays take the form of a chiefly one-sided dialogue between the unnamed Author and the other residents of a New England boarding house who are known only by their profession, location at the table, or other defining characteristics.

The topics discussed range from an essay on the unexpected benefits of old age to the finest place to site a dwelling and comments on the nature of conversation itself. The tone of the book is distinctly Yankee and takes a seriocomic approach to the subject matter. Each essay typically ends with a poem on the theme of the essay. There are also poems ostensibly written by the fictional disputants scattered throughout. The Professor at the Breakfast-Table, was published in 1859.

Its second sequel, The Poet at the Breakfast-Table, was published much later in 1872. The original "Autocrat" of the first series dies and is replaced by a physician who trained in Paris who is also a faculty member of a well-known medical school in the sequel. Holmes also included a character nicknamed "Little Boston", the last surviving member of a well-established Massachusetts family that was known to be a satirical version of Holmes himself. The final installment, The Poet at the Breakfast Table, focuses on a character referred to as The Master, who advocates modern scientific ideas.

The fifteen-year gap between the original Breakfast-Table book and its final installment allowed a very different tone which was more mellow and nostalgic than its predecessors. Holmes wrote of it: "As people grow older ... they come at length to live so much in memory that they often think with a kind of pleasure of losing their dearest possessions. Nothing can be so perfect while we possess it as it will seem when remembered".

Item Dimensions: 8.0 inches x 5.0 inches


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