New York: Harper & Brothers, 1851. First Edition, First Issue. Octavo, 634pp.; G+; spine green cloth with gilt lettering; original publisher's cloth, original orange endpapers, with the publisher's circular device blindstamped on the front and rear boards; spine partially faded to tan, with gilt lettering also partially faded, some small brown discoloration to spine edge; endpapers have some discoloration; moderate foxing throughout; six pages of publisher's ads; binding slightly loose; top edge of front hinge of front board has a repaired tear; BAL 13664; HC consignment; Shelved Case 2.
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London: Printed by S. Simmons, and are to be sold by T. Helder, at the Angel in Little Brittain, 1669. First Edition. Octavo; VG; bound in full morocco, spine paneled with gilt lettering; gilt text block; some wear and rubbing to binding; ffep through page A3 mostly loose, still attached through two pieces of string to the binding; A4, a4, A4-Z4, Aa4-Tt4, Vv2; small hole in middle of leaf Cc3, impacts text; a few leaves slightly stained. Bookplate of Thomas Jefferson McKee. McKee, 1840-1899, was a well-known book collector and lawyer from New York whose collection was auctioned off in 1900. In the auction, this copy was item number 3091. Autograph of Evert A. Duyckinck, 1839 on top blank margin of title. Evert Augustus Duyckinck, 1816-1878, was an American publisher and biographer. Among his work, he assisted Edgar Allan Poe in printing his Tales collection in 1845 and selected which stories to include. Duyckinck was also known to have lent Melville copies of his books, including a copy of the Decameron and a copy of Paradise Lost. Has the stamp of 'Lenox Library-Duplicate' on verso of title. The Lenox Library was a library incorporated and endowed in 1870, became a part of the founding collection of the New York Public Library in 1895, and opened to the public in this capacity in 1911. Of its collection in 1894, 15,000 of the 83,331 were from the collection of Evert Augustus Duyckinck. Simmons printed 1,200 first edition copies in 1667, and issued them over three years with varying title pages. The title pages have different years, with them reading 1667, 1668, or 1669. There is no known relationship between when a given copy of the text itself was printed, and the attached title page, making establishing priority difficult. This issue includes "Milton's synopsis of each book ("the Arguments" of Books 1–10), his defense of "the Verse," and a list of errata, adding sixteen pages of preliminary matter to the book. Simmons's note to the reader states that he had procured this explanation from Milton because readers of the poem had "stumbled" on first encountering it, asking "why the Poem Rimes not." Milton's strident defense of blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter) is printed in large type that fills two pages. His chosen meter, although no longer fashionable by 1667, was the dominant mode of Shakespeare's plays and is the closest to the natural rhythms of English speech. Samuel Johnson later commented sarcastically that, "finding blank verse easier than rhyme, [Milton] was desirous of persuading himself that it is better."" [Morgan Library] JG consignment; shelved case 0.
[London]: The Modern Press, 1886. First Edition. Thin Octavo, 164 pages; VG; housed in a burgundy wrapper and half morocco slip-case with gilt lettering to spine; in original green paper wraps, very slight wear to corners, inch long chip to tail of spine, small chip to head of spine; First separate issue, the smaller trimmed variant with the blank leaf bound at rear; Inscribed by Shaw: "This is the first reprint from the plates made from the pages of the magazine ToDay. The bookstalls would not stock it because it was not the right size for their counters. It did not sell well until it got into the hands of the pirates, who kept it going for years. It may still be going for all I know as I never succeeded in recapturing the plates. G. Bernard Shaw"; This inscription was written by Shaw for the former owner who was Frederick S. Bigelow, former editor for the Saturday Evening Post. He was in London in 1914 on a literary commission, and when visiting Shaw asked for the history of the little book. A typed note detailing his visit is included, and describes in brief his visit, including the view from Shaw's room overlooking the Thames and Shaw's interest in hearing his "account of seeing James J. Corbett, Ex-Champion, in the title role" of Cashel Byron's Profession.; RD consignment; shelved case 2.