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A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.
Boston and Cambridge: James Munroe and Company, 1849 - Duodecimo (197 × 112 mm) in sixes. Publisher's presentation binding (BAL: "A:T cloth") of brown cloth with gilt titles to spine and the sides blindstamped with a 5-rule frame enclosing a rococo ornament, pale-yellow endpapers. Housed in a brown cloth chemise and brown cloth slipcase. Some minor wear to spine ends, short split to head of front joint, internally very fresh; an excellent, unusually bright copy. First edition, publisher's presentation copy sent for review before publication, with two marginal corrections made in pencil by Thoreau himself, correcting "work" to "wash" on p. 120 and "experience" to "[expe]diency" on p. 139; inscribed "Editor of the N.A. Review, from the Publishers" on the front free endpaper in a secretarial hand. The book was published on 30 May 1849. Munroe printed 1,000 sets of sheets but bound only 550 copies, using eight different cloth bindings. Review copies were sent out four days before the official publication date, and these pre-publication copies were corrected by Thoreau in pencil in two instances, when he realised that changes he had made in proof had been overlooked. The earliest copies have only these two corrections; at a later date, perhaps as late as 1855, Thoreau also realised that three lines had been omitted at the foot of p. 396; in a few copies he supplied these himself but most are supplied in pencil in a neat hand that resembles that of Sophia Thoreau. Pencil, of course, was the appropriate writing medium; the family's pencil company, Thoreau and Company, produced "the best-known pencils in the United States, praised by artists and artisans." This particular review copy was unlikely to have been well received. The editor of The North American Review, the country's most important and prestigious journal of the time, was Francis Bowen, under whom Thoreau studied philosophy at Harvard. Bowen had already attacked the arrogance and obscurantism of the Transcendentalists in a January 1837 review of Emerson's Nature in the the Christian Examiner. The remarkable fresh condition of this copy indicates that he did not read far, if it all, into the book. Allen, p. 1; BAL 20104; Borst A1.1.a; Howes T220. [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2017-03-20           Check availability:      ZVAB    


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