THE VISION OF COLUMBUS; A POEM IN NINE BOOKS. Hartford: Printed by Hudson and Goodwin, for the Author, 1787. Octavo, pp. [i-vii] viii-xxi [xxii] [23-25] 26-258 [259-262; 265-272: "subscribers names"] [note: this is one of the copies with blank leaf (Kk4) excised], eighteenth-century full leather, spine panel ruled in gold, red leather spine label ruled and titled in gold, all edges stained light yellow. First edition. Barlow's first substantial work. The secularization of eighteenth-century American millennial expectations, not surprisingly, "became associated as much with patriotic pride as with God's great plan for the salvation of mankind. The future glory of God's Kingdom on earth gave way in emphasis to the future glory of America; that the Millennium would appear seemed not so important as that it would appear in America. Utilizing some of the techniques of fiction -- the framework of the vision or dream, for example, or a hint of elementary characterization -- and dwelling on the extrapolative details of the imagined Millennium, a number of writers (most of them poets and most of these among the Connecticut Wits) set out to sing the praises of their native land; in the process they rendered some of the first substantial images of Utopia Americana. Some of these works, indeed, are entirely devoted to portraying America as Holy Eutopia -- Timothy Dwight's AMERICA: OR, A POEM ON THE SETTLEMENT OF THE BRITISH COLONIES (circa 1771, circa 1781), David Humphreys's A POEM ON THE FUTURE GLORY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (1804), and the anonymous short prose work THE GOLDEN AGE (1785); others have different main themes but still devote substantial time to linking America to the advent of the Millennium -- Part VII of Timothy Dwight's GREENFIELD HILL (1794) and Book VIII of Joel Barlow's THE VISION OF COLUMBUS (1787)." - Nydahl, Joel, "From Millennium to Utopia Americana," Roemer, Kenneth, ed., America as Utopia, p. 249. "In common with most of his contemporaries, Barlow lacked any marked poetic talent (though he did not hesitate to rank himself with Virgil), yet an occasional line of his possesses more than ordinary merit. He was one of the true prophets of Nationalism, as may be seen in his VISION OF COLUMBUS, later expanded into THE COLUMBIAD (1807)." - Fullerton, Selective Bibliography of American Literature 1775-1900, p. 19. Barlow's vast epic of America, a poem in excess of 5000 lines arranged in nine books, was written over "a period of eight years, from 1779 to 1787, in leisure stolen from teaching, preaching, publishing, and military service. He had polished and revised, secure in his cheerful egotism that it would be well received. Strangely enough, it was; despite obvious debts to Milton, and stretches of execrable verse, THE VISION OF COLUMBUS won Barlow fame. His contemporaries delighted in the grandiose couplets on the discovery, settlement, and majestic future of America." - DAB. BAL 865. Evans 20220. Several abrasions to the surface of the leather, more so to rear panel, still a very pleasing copy with a fine interior in an attractive contemporary binding. (#107033).
No statement of printing. Note: The second edition is so marked on the title page.