Queen Mab.

London: Printed and Published by W. Clark, 1821.

Price: $2,000.00

About the item

First published edition, thin paper copy. 182, [4] pp. 1 vols. 8vo. In original boards nicked at the head and rubbed at the foot of the spine, very good with minimal loss to the spine label and structurally sound. Faint foxing to ffep, with a few scattered spots in the first pages. Some annotation in pencil throughout (numbers relating to line breaks and poem titles).The C.W. Frederickson copy,with his bookplate. Bookplate of Louis V. Ledoux. Laid into a quarter morocco slipcase and chemise. Granniss 19; Tinker 1888; Ashley V., p.150; Scwhartz, L. M., "Two New Contemporary Reviews of Shelley's Queen Mab", Keats-Shelley Journal, 1970, Vol. 19 (1970), pp. 77-85.

Item #322391

Though a piracy by William Clark – with the help of book pirate Thomas Moses, whose monogram appears in black letter below the imprint on the penultimate leaf – the is the first published edition of Shelley's first poem of any length. It was privately printed in 1813 in a very small edition, and originally contained a poetical dedication to Harriet. Shelley was in the habit of cutting out the title page and the dedication in copies he gave to friends, to avoid his inflammatory views about politics, the family, and religion being noted by the authorities.

There are two known versions of this edition, the first that prints the notes in their entirety and excises the dedication, and a second that includes the dedication and deletes words and lines from the notes. Shelley wrote a letter from Pisa on June 22, 1821, both "exonerat[ing]" himself and asking to "restrain the sale." Clark, threatened by prosecution (for Vice), voluntarily discontinued distribution after selling about only 50 copies. He was brought to trial and found guilty, serving four months. Clark's piracy was the first of three caused Shelley's poem, and the ideas therein, to be discussed publicly for the first time.

The present copy has a present advertising leaf, and no missing words or lines between pp. 146-148, and a supplied dedication from Carlile's 1822 edition (that used Clark's plates).