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2020-11-19 17:14:04
Poe, E. A.
The conchologist's first book: or, a system of testaceous malacology, arranged expressly for the use of schools, in which the animals, according to Cuvier, are given with the shells, a great number of new species added, and the whole brought up, as accurately as possible, to the present condition of the science. With illustrations of two hundred and fifteen shells, presenting a correct type of each genus.
Philadelphia, PA, Haswell, Barrington and Haswell (for the author), 1839. 8vo (16.8 x 11.5 cm). 156 pp.; 12 lithographed plates. Original ruled, gilt-lined quarter sheep over pictorial boards. Preserved in late 20th-century pictorial, shell-themed, slipcase. = The first, superior, edition, which is much rarer than the 1840 second edition, which has printed boards instead of pictorial boards. The two stories behind this book are well-known: Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849), then in deep financial trouble, plagiarized a work by captain Thomas Brown. That is the inaccurate story. Steve Gould unearthed the real story, in which Poe merely helped a friend, Thomas Wyatt, to plagiarize Wyatt's own book, which was too expensive to sell, by creating a cheaper edition, under a different title and with somewhat altered contents, and some parts, indeed, 'borrowed' from Brown. Slight wear to the boards; some scattered foxing, as usual. In all still a very good copy. Dance, A History of Shell Collecting, pp. 143-144; S. J. Gould, Poe's Greatest Hit. Not in Nissen ZBI.
Bookseller: Antiquariaat Schierenberg [Netherlands]

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