• The William E. Self Library, I auction at Christies

    Sale 2153

    The William E. Self Library, Important English and American Literature

    4 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 158

    POE, Edgar Allan, editor. The Conchologist's First Book: Or, a System of Testaceous Malacology. Philadelphia: for the author, by Haswell, Barrington, and Haswell, 1839.

    Price Realised  

    POE, Edgar Allan, editor. The Conchologist's First Book: Or, a System of Testaceous Malacology. Philadelphia: for the author, by Haswell, Barrington, and Haswell, 1839.

    12o. 12 lithographed plates. Original dark green roan-backed pink pictorial boards (minor wear to spine and corners); cloth slipcase.

    FIRST EDITION, Heartman and Canny's variant "b" (with uncolored plates), plate 3 in BAL's state "A" reading "Parts of Shells." An adaptation of Thomas Brown's The Conchologist's Text-Book (Glasgow, 1833), edited by the financially troubled Poe, which was published shortly after he moved to Philadelphia in 1838. Poe was later accused of plagiarism for this work and in a letter written in February 1847 to George W. Eveleth, Poe states: "I wrote it, in conjunction with Professor Thomas Wyatt, and Professor McMurtrie of Pha--my name being put to the work, as best known and most likely to aid its circulation. I wrote the Preface and Introduction, and translated from Cuvier, the accounts of the animals etc..." (see Ostrom, The Letters of Edgar Allan Poe [New York, 1966], no. 249, p. [343]). TALL COPY: BAL states most copies measure 6 7/8" scant x 4¼, but this copy (like the Harvard and NYPL copies) measures 7¼ x 4 3/8. BAL 16131; Heartman & Canny, pp. 41-44; Norman 1720. A VERY FINE COPY.


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