Adventures of a Bullfinch

(Item #5200) Adventures of a Bullfinch. Elizabeth Sandham.
Adventures of a Bullfinch
Adventures of a Bullfinch
Adventures of a Bullfinch
Adventures of a Bullfinch
Adventures of a Bullfinch
Adventures of a Bullfinch
A story about compassion, with some darker undertones regarding class and servitude
Adventures of a Bullfinch

London: Printed for J. Harris, 1809. First edition. Original quarter roan over marbled boards retaining delicate paper label to front cover. Measuring 130 x 80mm and collating complete including frontis and publisher's catalogue: [2], 134, [8]. A pleasing, square little book, with just a bit of rubbing to corners. Contemporary gift inscription to front endpaper: "SCM Belcher from her affectionate father JT Belcher 1847." Header of front endpaper excised; bookplate removal to both pastedowns. Small paper flaw to upper corner of page 73. Internally a fresh and unmarked text. A delicate and scarce piece, OCLC records 7 copies at institutions, with this being the only example in trade.

Designed to teach compassion to children by having them follow the first-person narrative of a bullfinch named Bully. Shaped early on by "the kindness and attention of my mother during my infancy," Bully recounts a situation likely familiar to many of his juvenile readers: a warm nest, a mother who tended his and his siblings' needs from food to flying, and a father who did his best to prepare him for safe departure and adult membership in a bellowing of fellow bullfinches. Swiftly, though, Bully learns that his family's lack of contact with the human world left them ignorant of its dangers; and he is caught in a net, confined to a cage, and taught by his master to sing in a way unnatural to his kind. A valuable commodity, Bully lives in several human homes -- and even admits to being culpable for the capture of fellow birds, by serving as his master's lure. Despite several escape attempts, Bully lives the rest of his life in captivity; and as he grows comfortable in his cage, potentially dark lessons about class dynamics, servitude and slavery emerge. For though Bully initially longs for his freedom, over time he accepts and believes that he thrives in service to human masters.
(Item #5200)

Price: $1,500