Item #319133 Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. Edgar Allan Poe.
Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque
Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque
Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque

First edition; one of only 750 copies printed

Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque.

Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1840.

First edition, one of only an estimated 750 copies printed; with p. 213 correctly numbered. 243,[1]; iv, [4], [5]-228 pp. 2 vols. 8vo. First edition; one of only 750 copies printed. Original purple muslin, printed paper spine labels; cloth folding case. Labels chipped and darkened, spines and upper board edges faded, chip to rear joint of vol. 1 and 2-in. split along rear joint of vol. 2; foxed. Despite minor flaws, an entirely original, unsophisticated copy of a truly scarce set that today is typically found recased, or otherwise restored BAL 16133; Heartman & Canny pp. 49-54; NYPL/Gordan 479; Robertson 46-49; Yale/Gimbel 3. 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. Item #319133

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 "below the average of newspaper trash... wild, unmeaning, pointless, aimless... without anything of elevated fancy or fine humor." Indeed, readers of the future finally and firmly embraced Poe as a major innovator and master of the form.

Increasingly scarce in any condition, but especially so in original condition.

Price: $32,500.00 Free International Delivery