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The Heathen Chinee - CHINA - CHINESE IMMIGRATION INTO AMERICA - 1870. 
The Western News Company. Chicago. 1870. - 9 loose black and white lithographs, 7 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches, with original decorative envelope (7 3/4 x 6 inches). Light soiling, edge tears and wear to envelope, plus previous owner's name and date (July 3 1871) in ink and pencil to front cover. Toning to first sheet, otherwise very clean and bright. The lithographic printing of this set is particularly strong. A superior example of this unusual set. This is the first printing of the first independent (pirated) issue of Harte's poem, which first appeared as "Plain Language from Truthful James" in the September 1870 issue of the Overland Monthly( which Harte edited). Harte evidently wrote the poem as a space-filler and a satire on the anti-Chinese immigration sentiments of the Irish immigrant community, as expressed by the card sharp Bill Nye on sheet 6, "we are ruined by chinese cheap labor." In fact it was to have the opposite from desired effect (see the excellent article by Gary Scharnhorst "Ways That Are Dark": Appropriations of Bret Harte's "Plain Language from Truthful James" in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Volume 51, No. 3 December 1996.) Hull's illustrations added fuel to the popular racist reading of the poem, embellishing the poem with a scene of mob violence. [Attributes: First Edition; Soft Cover]
[Bookseller: old imprints ABAA/ILAB]
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