POPULAR TALES OF THE WEST HIGHLANDS. Orally Collected with a Translation by J. F. Campbell. Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1860-1862. Octavo, four volumes: pp. [i-v] vi [vii] viii-xiii [xiv] [ix] x-cxxxii [cxxxiii] cxxxiv-cxxxv [cxxxvi]  2-353 [354: blank]; [i-v] vi-xiii [xiv]  2-478; [i-v] vi-xi [xii-xiii] xiv-xv [xvi]  2-422; [i-v] vi [vii] viii [ix-x]  2-480 [note: preliminary leaves in volume one are complete despite gap in pagination], two inserted plates, other illustrations, some full page, in the text, nineteenth-century three-quarter brown pebbled leather and marbled boards, spine panels richly tooled in gold, t.e.g., marbled endpapers. First edition. John Francis Campbell of Islay (1821-1885) is perhaps best known as a pioneer collector of Gaelic folklore, systematically recording the Gaelic oral tradition principally in the Scottish Highlands and Western Islands. Campbell published the first two volumes of his groundbreaking, highly influential POPULAR TALES OF THE WEST HIGHLANDS in 1860. Two more volumes followed in 1862. The resourceful Campbell, a descendant of Highland chieftains living in the midst of his own dying folk tradition, "came up with a brilliant idea which would transform field collecting. He employed and trained collectors expert in Gaelic and born in the Highlands and the Western Islands to interview and record the storytellers in their dialects ... In a remarkably short time [he] captured a whole archive of folk tales. He printed 86 in three volumes and announced in his final note at the end of volume four in 1862 that his aides had sent him a total of 791 stories ... more were coming in all the time, and yet whole districts were still untouched ... Campbell himself never placed more tales in print and could not even spare time to oversee a second edition, which did not appear until after his death ... Folklorists are content with POPULAR TALES. In addition to the precious texts and variants of Highland stories in English and Gaelic, the author supplied an absorbing introduction of well over a hundred pages, copious observations on elements and variations in the tales, and a fourth volume containing a monographic essay on the Ossianic controversy with additional papers on 'Traditions,' 'Mythology,' 'A Plea for Gaelic,' 'Highland Dress,' 'Celtic Art' and 'Music.'" - Dorson, The British Folklorists, pp. 392-402. Leather rubbed at spine ends and corners, boards rubbed, lower margins of a few leaves in volume three creased at lower right margins, a tight, very good copy with clean, nearly fine interior. (#136834).
No statement of printing.