[WILLS, James]. The Universe: A Poem. By the Rev. C. R. Maturin. London: Henry Colburn and Co. … 1821.
8vo (211 × 140 mm), pp. [6], 108; the occasional spot; nineteenth-century green half calf and marbled paper sides, extremities rubbed and a bit worn in places.
First (and only?) edition, dedicated to Coleridge ‘by his sincere admirer, the author’, and published under the name of the Irish Gothic writer, C. R. Maturin. Like Maturin, James Wills (1790–1868) was a Church of Ireland clergyman, who contributed regularly to Blackwood’s Magazine, the Dublin Penny Journal, and later, his own periodical, the Irish Quarterly Review. Having given up on his law studies in London due to financial difficulties, he returned to Ireland, where ‘he met the Gothic novelist and dramatist Charles Robert Maturin, who published one of Wills’s most famous poems, “The universe”, and who was, for a long time, considered to be its author. The popularity of the poem could not have been better timed, bringing Wills some £500 and saving him from impending financial disaster’ (Oxford DNB). Wills would continue writing and lecturing until his death in 1868, but never received much recognition for his poetic efforts.
Jackson, p. 476.
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