11 October 2002
WHARTON, Edith (1862-1937). The House of Mirth. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1905.
8o. Title-page printed in red and black. (Without frontispiece and illustrations.) Original red cloth, gilt-lettered on front cover and spine, top edge gilt (front inner hinge skilfully repaired). Provenance: Miss Taintor (presentation inscription).
FIRST EDITION, FIRST IMPRESSION. A PRE-PUBLICATION PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY WHARTON on the front free endpaper: "For Miss Taintor from Edith Wharton Oct. 12th 1905." This presentation pre-dates publication by two days. According to Garrison, the first edition of The House of Mirth was issued by Scribner's in New York on October 14; a Canadian edition soon followed; and the first English edition was published on October 16. This copy was most-likely a mock-up prepared by Scribner's, since it lacks the frontispiece and illustrations found in other first state copies.
The recipient may have been someone closely involved in the book's publication, as even Henry James, one of Wharton's closest friend's, did not receive a copy of the novel "in the final state" until mid-December (Henry James, Letters, ed. Leon Edel, Vol. IV, p.387). This is the only presentation copy of The House of Mirth recorded in ABPC since at least 1975. Garrison A12.I.a.
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