Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
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Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

THE DYNASTS. 1903-06-08

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Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
The Dynasts. 1903-06-08
HARDY, Thomas (1840-1928). The Dynasts. A Drama of the Napoleonic Wars, In Three Parts, Nineteen Acts, & One Hundred and Thirty Scenes. London: Macmillan, 1903-06-08.

First editions, the Jerome Kern set, including the rare first issue of vol. 1 with the title-page dated 1903. Considered by the author to be his masterpiece, ‘The Dynasts is the culmination of Hardy’s lifelong interest in Napoleon and the Napoleonic wars’ (Purdy p.121). While the work had been taking shape in his mind for many years, it was not until 1897, after Hardy had given up the writing of novels, that he began its composition ‘now and then at wide intervals’. The first part was ready for publication in December 1903 but was kept back to allow the American printers to finish their edition, with the 1903 title-page cancelled and replaced with one dated 1904 in the vast majority of copies. Volume 2 is in the usual second state with the title-page dated 1906 – Purdy had never seen a copy with the 1905 title-page in an English binding. Purdy, pp. 119-135.

3 volumes, octavo (193 x 125mm). Half-titles. Original olive green cloth, upper covers stamped in gilt with TH monogram medallion (extremities of vol. 1 slightly rubbed, spines of vols. 2 & 3 slightly faded); original greenish-gray printed dustjackets (spines slightly darkened, some light creasing, a few small chips at spines); mostly unopened; housed in green quarter morocco slipcase. Provenance: Jerome Kern (1885-1945; leather booklabel in each volume, his sale, Anderson Galleries, 10 January 1929, lot 647, but the description not mentioning dustjackets) – Christies, New York, 5 December 1997, lot 170.
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