First Printings of Emily Dickinson's First Three Books of PoetryEmily Dickinson. Poems [First Series]. [with:] Poems. Second Series. [and:] Poems. Third Series. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1890, 1891, 1896.
First editions, first printings. Twelvemo. First Series: xvi, -152 pages. Second Series: viii, -230 pages plus blank leaf. Third Series: viii, -200 pages plus blank leaf.
First Series bound in ivory and gray cloth with gilt titles and silver decorative stamping. Top edge gilt. Second Series and Third Series bound in green cloth with gilt titles and decorative stamping. Beveled boards. Top edges gilt. Third Series reads "Roberts Bros." at the base of the spine. All three volumes housed together in a custom green half-leather clamshell box with gilt spine titles inside four raised bands. Binding of First Series moderately rubbed and spotted. Minor wear to the extremities. Offsetting to pages 72-73 from some previously inserted paper object (no longer present). Tissue guard loose at the title page. Second Series with mild wear and dust-soiling to the boards. Spine somewhat darkened. Rear hinge only just starting. Third Series shows minor wear at the extremities and minimal rubbing to the boards. A very clean copy. Internal contents excellent on all three volumes. A very good set of the rare first printings of Dickinson's first three books.
The First Series is an association copy, having been given as a gift by Pastor J. L. Jenkins, a close and admired friend of the Dickinson family who assisted in officiating Emily Dickinson's funeral. His 1890 inscription has been marked out but is still readable on the front free endpaper.
"She never, like Dr. Johnson, tore the heart out of many books to make a new one and seldom put classical legend, myth, or history - the stock in trade of the Romantic poets - to work in her poems; or if she did, the references are usually fleeting and peripheral. There are no imitations of Spenser or Milton in her canon. She was never the avowed disciple, as far as we know, of anyone." (Sewall: The Life of Emily Dickinson, pp. 668-669)
BAL 4655, 4656, 4661; Clendenning 54-56; Grolier 100 American, 91
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