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2020-09-15 09:42:24
POE, Edgar Allan
Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque
Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1840. 2 volumes, 12mo (19.3 x 11 cm). 243; iv (advertisements, 228 pages. Original purple muslin, printed paper spine labels; cloth folding case. Provenance: Maria W. Phelps (penciled inscriptions dated Saturday August 14, 1847 on front free endpapers in each volume). Possibly Maria Wilder Phelps Thayer, of Boston (b. 1828), wife of Boston merchant Frederick W. Thayer and mother of Harvard-educated Frederick W. Thayer, inventor of the baseball catcher's mask. FIRST EDITION, one of only an estimated 750 copies printed, with p. 213 correctly numbered. The twenty-five stories in this American cornerstone include two of Poe's most important works: "Ms. Found in a Bottle" and "The Fall of the House of Usher." Poe had struggled since 1834 to collect his stories, published in a variety of journals and magazines, into book form. This publication was a major milestone for the author, and critical praises included in the second volume by the likes of Washington Irving, N.P. Willis, J. F. Otis, Mrs. Sigourney, and notable academic reviews. Despite the enthusiasm, it was a commercial failure. Poe's recent success with "The Fall of the House of Usher," published in Burton's Gentleman's magazine in 1839, impressed the publishers Lea & Blanchard. They were not, however, confident in assured sales, and it is recorded that in lieu of any royalties Poe received 20 free copies as payment. A prophetic anonymous reviewer in the Boston Notion proposed that Poe's work was better suited to readers of the future, while readers of his time would find the stories "bel … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: Riverrun Books & Manuscripts [USA]

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