DODGSON, Charles Lutwidge ('Lewis Carroll'). Through the Looking- Glass and what Alice found there. London: Richard Clay for Macmillan, 1893.
8° (185 x 125mm). 50 illustrations after John Tenniel. (A very few leaves with light scattered spotting.) Original red cloth, gilt-stamped, spine gilt-lettered, gilt edges (spine lightly and evenly sunned, front hinge tender); modern morocco-backed box. Provenance: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (inscription on half-title 'Received Nov. 21 93' and annotations).
Third edition, 'Sixtieth thousand'. LEWIS CARROLL'S ANNOTATED COPY OF THE SUPPRESSED 60TH-THOUSAND ISSUE OF THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS, inscribed by Carroll indicating all the printing problems that led to its suppression, and over which he threatened to terminate his contract with Macmillan. These annotations provide valuable insights into Carroll's character, and the controversy that ensued between author and publisher.
Lewis Carroll was a demanding author who expected very high production values of Macmillan. Carroll made it a 'point of supreme importance, that all books, sold for me, shall be the best attainable for the price' (Letters p.995). This had led to some friction in the past, most famously when the first printing of the 1865 Alice was recalled after John Tenniel complained about the quality of the printing. But none of these earlier problems appear to have provoked the threat of a breach in the long-standing contractual relationship between Carroll and Macmillan. Carroll inscribed this copy in 34 places with comments relating to various production faults -- for example, 'very much over-printed, very bad indeed' and 'very bad folding' -- and summarized these problems on the half-title: 'Received Nov. 21/93, paper too white, 26 pictures over-printed, 8 of them very bad'. On the same day he wrote a strongly-worded letter to Frederick Macmillan, stating that the six copies which he had requested had arrived that morning, and complaining that: 'the book is worthless ... much as I should regret the having to sever a connection that has now lasted nearly 30 years, I shall feel myself absolutely compelled to do so, unless I can have some assurance that better care shall be taken, in future, to ensure that my books shall be of the best artistic quality attainable for the money' (Letters p. 995).
Only 60 copies of the 60th thousand had gone out when Carroll intervened (diary entry for 21 November 1893; Diary 9 (2005), p.105). He asked Macmillan to destroy the remainder of the edition, but the situation quickly escalated. Having lost faith in both Macmillan and his printer, Carroll stopped the working-off of Sylvie and Bruno Concluded and soon demanded, in a letter to Macmillan, that 'no more Wonderlands are to be printed, from the present electrotypes, till I give permission' (24 November 1893) -- with serious financial consequences for both as potential December sales of Carroll's new book were missed. Carroll's recall left Through the Looking-Glass out of print until 1897. He later changed his mind about destroying the edition and instead favoured rebinding it and distributing it to charitable institutions, as had been done with the suppressed first edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. ONE OF ONLY 4 COPIES KNOWN IN THE ORIGINAL CLOTH: until as recently as 1990 Lovett noted that 'no copies of the 60th thousand in standard binding have been recorded' (p.21). Copies rebound for the Mechanics' Institute were known, but it is only in the last few years that Selwyn Goodacre has been able to trace 4 copies in the original cloth, one of these now lost (Selwyn Goodacre, unpublished census). Williams, Madan, Green and Crutch 84b; Lovett 15a; Selwyn H. Goodacre 'Lewis Carroll's Rejection of the 60th thousand of Through the Looking-Glass', in The Book Collector, Summer 1975, pp. 251-256 [citing only 2 rebound copies].