London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1880. First edition of the last novel the author published before his death. Cloth slight soiled and gentle lean to spines. Spines slightly toned. Front hinge slightly cracked in Vol. II. Intermittent very minor foxing. Gathering R in Vol. III loose, but holding. Small binder’s ticket to rear pastedown of Vol. I. Overall, a very good set. Publisher’s red cloth, spine lettered in silver. Floral patterned endpapers. Three volumes, octavo. , [1, blank], 311; , [1, blank], 337; , [1, blank], 346, [+2, ads] pp. Item #16453
Benjamin Disraeli’s (1804-1881) novel Lothair (1870) was the first ever published by a prime minister and was a huge success. Endymion was composed primarily in the 1870s. Disraeli was paid £10,000 by Longmans for the rights, which, at the time, was believed to be the greatest sum then paid for a work of fiction. Endmyion is a romance and a survey of British politics between 1827 and 1855. It both recreates and emphasizes the importance of aristocratic – especially female – social influence on political fortunes. In the novel, it is female influence that helps the conventional, insipid, courteous Endymion, a Whig, to rise to the premiership; he also manages to progress by not offending the insular prejudices of a commercial country. Endymion is named after the shepherd from Greek mythology, which would have been familiar to eighteenth-century readers from the 1818 poem by John Keats (1795-1821) with that title. (Oxford DNB).