Stunning edition of "The Alhambra", by Washington Irving
Easton Press, 1978 Collector's Edition from the 100 Greatest Books Ever Written Collection.
Hardcover bound in full black leather with raised bands on spine, 22kt gold gilt titles and handsome gilt decorations on boards and spine, moire silk endpapers with a matching silk ribbon placeholder bound in.
Very Good condition overall. Small bit of what looks like white paint over the top motiff on the spine (please see up-close photo).
Tales of the Alhambra is a collection of essays, verbal sketches, and stories by Washington Irving.
Shortly after completing a biography of Christopher Columbus in 1828, Washington Irving traveled from Madrid, where he had been staying, to Granada, Spain. At first sight, he described it as "a most picturesque and beautiful city, situated in one of the loveliest landscapes that I have ever seen." Irving was preparing a book called A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada, a history of the years 1478–1492, and was continuing his research on the topic. He immediately asked the then-governor of the historic Alhambra Palace as well as the archbishop of Granada for access to the palace, which was granted because of Irving's celebrity status. Aided by a 17-year old guide named Mateo Ximenes, Irving was inspired by his experience to write Tales of the Alhambra. Throughout his trip, he filled his notebooks and journals with descriptions and observations though he did not believe his writing would ever do it justice. He wrote, "How unworthy is my scribbling of the place." Irving continued to travel through Spain until he was appointed as secretary of legation at the United States Embassy in London, serving under the incoming minister Louis McLane.