New Addition to Olmsted Collection

The Library Committee recently purchased the “Poetical Works of Akenside”. This book has been sought after for many years, but has been out of print, and existing copies were prohibitively expensive. This volume represents an authentic text as printed by the original publisher. The current publisher is Biblio Bazaar, LLC. Their goal is publishing works that are culturally important, and making them available at a reasonable cost.

Olmsted named many of Riverside’s roads for writers he admired and who influenced him. Many were mentioned in he Olmsted Papers, e.g. Repton, Loudon, Shenstone, Uvedale Price, Audubon, etc. Mark Akenside was not mentioned by Olmsted, but his most famous poem “The Pleasures of the Imagination” written in the 18th century remained very popular in the 19th, and was widely read.

This volume opens with a brief biography of Akenside with critical remarks about his work. Akenside was born in England in 1721 at Newcastle upon Tyne. The son of a butcher, he studied for the pulpit, but later changed his mind and studied medicine. He earned a doctor’s degree from Cambridge, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and the College of Physicians. He wrote poetry from an early age. Mark Akenside’s poetry is very beautiful , but a challenge for 21st century readers.

“The Pleasures of the Imagination” begins:

‘With what attractive charms this goodly frame

Of Nature touches the consenting hearts

Of mortal men; and what the pleasing stores

Which beauteous Imitation thence derives

To deck the poet’s or the painter’s toil,

My verse unfolds.’

For more information on the Olmsted Collection at the Riverside Library please visit our on-line catalog for the Olmsted Collection at Riverside Library.

by Jane Kunka