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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. By Acton Bell. In three volumes.
London: T. C. Newby, 1848 - 3 volumes, octavo (196 x 116 mm). Late 19th-century green straight-grain morocco by Lloyd, Wallis & Lloyd, spines gilt-tooled in compartments with titles direct, french fillet border gilt to sides, gilt-tooled turn-ins, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, others untrimmed. Bound without terminal advert leaf. Bookplates of George Evelyn Cower to pastedowns. Some corners bumped, a few minor marks to sides, internally clean, minor paper repairs done at the time of binding to a few small tears to some outer leaves, light mark to first title, but an excellent copy, smartly bound, retaining untrimmed fore and lower edges. Half-title to vol. 1 only, as called for. First edition, first issue, of Anne Brontë's last and only separately published novel, which "reverberated throughout Victorian England" (May Sinclair, Brontë biographer) with its realistic and disturbing portrayal of alcoholism and debauchery. Thomas Cautley Newby was a notoriously shifty publisher who had taken a deposit for the earlier publication of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey but failed to publish until the reviews of Jane Eyre proved favourable, then printed fewer than the agreed number, leaving most errors uncorrected. His behaviour on this occasion was little better: he offered it to Harper Brothers of New York for publication in America, implying it was by Currer Bell; printed reviews of Jane Eyre on the half-title verso with the same intent; and published only about 250 or 300 copies, instead of the agreed 500, leaving the remainder to be sold, with a cancel title and preface, as the second edition. As a result, copies of the first issue are scarce. Michael Sadleir, whose collection of 19th-century literature remains unparalleled among private collections, considered it the scarcest of the Brontë sisters' works and never found an adequate copy for his collection. Smith (Brontë) 4; no copy in Sadleir but listed in comparative scarcities p. 375. [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2017-10-24           Check availability:      ZVAB    

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