Edgar Allan Poe. Tales. New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1845. First edition, first printing with the imprints of T. B. Smith and H. Ludwig on the copyright page. Small octavo (7.25 x 4.5 inches; 180 x 115 mm.). [ii], 228, [2, ads] pages. This copy bound without the half-title, second leaf of ads, and second set of rear ads. Bound in modern full green calf, boards decoratively ruled in blind, front board and spine stamped in gilt, red gilt morocco lettering label on spine. Marbled edges. Marbled endleaves. Spine a bit toned, some mild rubbing to binding; upper corners bumped. Text toned with intermittent soiling and creasing; copyright page has a small tape repair to the bottom margin. Overall, a near fine copy. A Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone; Queen's Quorum 1 ("the first important book of detective fiction, the first and the greatest, the cornerstone of cornerstones in any readers' or collectors' guide, the highest of all highspots"); BAL 16146; Grolier, 100 American, 55; Heartman and Canny, pp. 90-97; Yale/Gimbel 61. See also William B. Todd, "The Early Issues of Poe's Tales (1845)," Library Chronicle of the University of Texas, Fall 1961, 7:13-18. From the James C. Seacrest Collection.

    As per BAL, "impressions from the plates of several pages vary in an anomalous way," and this copy is no exception: this copy has unbattered letters on page 160; "E" is broken on the running title on page 187; page 224 has a variant (unrecorded by BAL) with "S" present on "Poe's Tales" in the running title, but no period; page 229, the advertisement leaf, begins with "Wiley and Putnam's Library of American Books. Just Ready. Journal of an African Cruizer," being different from ads listed in BAL. However, these ads list Tales at 50 cents, as per BAL's "earliest advertisements."

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    This important book contains the first mystery stories. This collection contains many of Poe's greatest prose works, including "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Gold-Bug," "The Fall of the House of Usher," and "The Purloined Letter." So important are these stories, that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said of them: "These tales have been so pregnant with suggestion, so stimulating to the minds of others, that it may be said of many of them that each is a root from which a whole literature has developed."

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