Description

    Scarce First Issue of the Large Paper "Presentation" Edition of the First Professor Challenger Story

    Arthur Conan Doyle. The Lost World. Being an account of the recent amazing adventures of Professor George E. Challenger, Lord John Roxton, Professor Summerlee, and Mr. E. D. Malone of the "Daily Gazette." London: Hodder and Stoughton, [n.d., 1912].
    First large paper "Presentation" edition, first issue, of the first Professor Challenger story. Large octavo (9 x 6.5 inches). vii, [1, blank], 9-319, [1, printers imprint] pp. Thirteen illustrations pasted to light brown mounts tipped in, with tissue guards, including color frontispiece of Professor Challenger. Two maps in the text.

    Publisher's light blue cloth over heavy beveled boards. Front cover and spine lettered in gilt. Dinosaur footprints stamped in blind on covers and spine. Top edge gilt. Pictorial endpapers printed in brown. Some minor rubbing, spine slightly faded, a few areas of slight discoloration to cloth. Minor insect damage to lower edge of front free endpaper. Over-opened between frontispiece and title-page. Frontispiece plate slightly creased at lower corner. A very good copy. Housed in a felt-lined book-backed quarter blue morocco over blue cloth clamshell case. The spine of the case is decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments and the covers of case with a cut-out dinosaur footprint design reproducing the cover design. Faint dampstaining and slight discoloration to front cover of case.

    Although 1,000 copies of the Presentation edition were prepared, only 190 copies were bound for the first issue. The remaining 810 copies were bound later, most issued in 1914 in brown cloth, others distributed sometime later.

    "'My ambition,' [Doyle] wrote to [H.] Greenhough Smith [editor of The Strand Magazine], 'is to do for the boys' book what Sherlock Holmes did for the detective tale. I don't suppose I could bring off two such coups. And yet I hope it may.' The result was The Lost World, a vivid adventure tale that stands with The Hound of the Baskervilles and the Brigadier Gerard stories as the most thoroughly enjoyable of all Conan Doyle's works. Narrated by an agreeable Irish journalist named Edward Dunn Malone, The Lost World introduces the irascible Professor Challenger just as he is mounting an expedition to South America. Challenger and Malone are joined by Professor Summerlee, an academic rival of Challenger's, and Lord John Roxton, a globe-trotting sportsman. After many hardships and internal disputes, the four adventurers arrive at a remote Amazonian plateau, where a combination of isolation and unusual atmospheric conditions have created a kind of living time capsule. Here, the explorers discover, the world has been preserved just as it was in prehistoric times, and dinosaurs walk the earth...It would not have occurred to Conan Doyle that he was writing science fiction, as that phrase had not yet come into common use, but The Lost World can now be seen as an early masterpiece of the genre. In many ways, The Lost World is comparable to A Study in Scarlet as a milestone of its field, though Conan Doyle's influence as a writer of science fiction is seldom acknowledged" (Daniel, Stashower, Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle, pp. 274-275).

    Green and Gibson A37c. Reginald 04496.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2008
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
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