London, South Kensington
30 November 2005
DODGSON, Charles Lutwidge ('Lewis Carroll'). Curiosa Mathematica. Part I, A New Theory of Parallels. [and:] Curiosa Mathematica. Part II, Pillow Problems Thought Out During Sleepless Nights. London: Horace Hart for Macmillan, 1888-1893.
2 vols, 8° (185 x 120mm). Diagrammatic frontispieces and illustrations. (Vol. I lightly browned and with a very few short marginal tears.) Original tan pictorial cloth, publisher's device blocked on lower cover of vol. I (vol. I rebacked repairing the front hinge, and with wear to extremities). Provenance: Archibald Dickson 1893 (inscription in vol. II) -- Harrison D. Horblit (bookplate in vol. I).
FIRST EDITION OF THE COMPLETE CURIOSA MATHEMATICA. The first edition of Part II is particularly rare because on publication of the second edition, in August of the same year, Dodgson asked Macmillan to stop supplying copies of this first edition, and to recall those already in the hands of agents, replacing them with copies of the new edition. The great majority of the seventy-two problems, chiefly in Algebra, Plane Geometry or Trigonometry, were 'almost all mentally worked out in the night, without a word or line put on paper till the daylight came. Some are dated, from 1874 to 1891. The Introduction describes the method of calculation, and states that Dodgson generally wrote the answer first, then the question and solution! He could distinctly visualize complicated diagrams in the dark, such as the frontispiece ... He published the problems to encourage the pastime as a means of avoiding undesired thought by concentration on a subject' (WMGC p. 181). Williams, Madan, Green and Crutch 210 and 246. (2)
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