Sydney: [Privately printed], 1890.
First edition, issued (according to Edmund Gosse) in an edition of 25 copies. At head of title: With Mr. R. L. Stevenson's Compliments. 32 pp. With holograph corrections on pp. 7, 13, and 20. 1 vols. 8vo. The Rare Sydney Printing. Original stapled self wrappers. Ink initials at head of title, L. v. F. Old folds, short tear and paper flaw to last leaf with small stain in margin, some toning and wear to foot of spine fold. Very good. Blue cloth chemise and slipcase Prideaux 31; McKay, Beinecke 506. Item #319960
Father Damien, Damien de Veuster (1840-1889) was a Belgian missionary from Belgium who worked at the leper settlement at Molokai from 1873; he eventually contracted leprosy and died of it in 1889.
Stevenson’s polemic was written in response to a letter from Rev. C.M. Hyde of Honolulu, published in The Presbyterian newspaper on 26 October 1889, critical of Father Damien’s work with the lepers and accusing him of immorality and of being “dirty” and “coarse”. With acerbic wit, Stevenson attacks Hyde’s narrow-minded thinking and the hypocrisy of his privileged position, and tells of his own visit to Damien’s grave and “conversations with those who knew him well and long”. Stevenson quips, “if that world at all remember you, on the day when Damien of Molokai shall be named Saint, it will be in virtue of one work: your letter to the Reverend H. B. Gage.” St. Damien of Molokai was canonized in 2009.
Attractive copy of a scarce Stevenson work in its original Sydney printing, with holograph corrections to the text.
Price: $8,000.00 Free International Delivery