Description

    First Printing of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales, in the Original Cloth

    Nathaniel Hawthorne. Tanglewood Tales, for Girls and Boys; Being a Second Wonder-Book. With Fine Illustrations. Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, 1853.

    First American edition, BAL first printing (with the imprint of Boston Stereotype Foundry only on the copyright). Small octavo (6.5625 x 4.25 inches; 166 x 109 mm.). 336 pp. With 8 pp. publisher's catalog, dated August, 1853 (BAL printing B, with Tanglewood Tales described as "Just out" and listed without price on p. 2), bound in between the front free endpapers. Added wood-engraved vignette title, with tissue guard, and six wood-engraved plates by Hammatt Billings.

    Original green vertically-ribbed cloth with covers decoratively panelled in blind and spine decoratively stamped and lettered in gilt. Original pale yellow endpapers. Just slightly skewed, spine slightly darkened, with two small chips to cloth at foot of spine and cloth chipped and torn at head of spine, corners and board edges lightly rubbed, slight discoloration and a few small stains to cloth on covers. Paper slightly browned, some foxing and occasional staining or soiling, slight edgewear to leaves 8/4 and 8/5 (pp. 119/120 and 121/122). Plate facing p. 85 with closed tear. Previous owner's ink presentation inscription, dated "Christmas 1853," on front free endpaper. Booklabel of Charles Hastings Brown (inscribed "Property of C. I. Brown") on front pastedown. A totally unsophisticated copy, with the hinges sound and untouched.

    Housed in a green cloth chemise and quarter dark green morocco slipcase lettered in gilt on spine (the chemise liner is stamp-signed: Bound by J. Desmonts, J. Mac Donald Co., Norwalk, Conn.).

    "As in A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, we meet Eustace Bright, who in the first book told versions of Greek myths to a party of children at Tanglewood Manor. Now he presents the 'editor' ( Hawthorne) with a pile of manuscript containing more retellings of Greek stories. Hawthorne remarks that the originals are 'so brimming over with every thing that is most abhorrent to our Christianised moral sense' that they have had to be severely rewritten, 'at the expense of such liberties with their structure as must be left to plead their own excuse'. The myths are then narrated with no further reference to Eustace or Tanglewood. Hawthorne's introductory remarks are a key to the character of the book. The Wonder-Book was written in a cheerful, sunny manner throughout, but here the material is much more sombrely presented, and Hawthorne is visibly preoccupied with what he regards as the impurity of much of the original material" (The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature).

    BAL 7614. Browne, p. 74. Clarke A22.2a. Blanck, Peter Parley to Penrod, p. 10.


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    June, 2008
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