A Californian Mystery. Translated by W. J. Gordon. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, n.d. [1883]. Original aqua-grey cloth pictorially decorated in black.

First American hardbound edition of this tale originally published the year before as L'ECOLE DES ROBINSONS. The New York Times panned this effort [as cited in T&M]:

M. Jules Verne has never written books strongly marked with common sense; they have on the contrary, offered unusual examples of the violation of all sensible ideas, and the successful violation... But when it comes to Godfrey Morgan's trip around the world, the submergeable steamer, the plot to give him a taste of that Robinson Crusoe life of which he had dreamed, the strain is too great. We are eager to be fooled, but the fooling must have some semblance of art; it must not be bald imbecility... Jules Verne has no right to inveigle the public into buying such a book on the strength of his former novels; it is an abuse of the good-nature of the public.

Scribner would not issue GODFREY MORGAN again.

George Munro managed, as usual, to produce the first edition in English for his self-wrappered "Seaside Library" in January 1883; Sampson Low's British edition, fully illustrated, came out in March of that year, followed by this Scribner edition (from the British sheets) in October. Whereas the British edition shows on its front cover Godfrey firing on lions and tigers from his perch inside a tree, the Scribner edition shows Tartlet stumbling as he runs from a hungry crocodile.

This copy is in aqua-grey cloth; we have also seen dark brown and light orange-brown (no priority). It is a very good-plus copy, with very light wear at the spine ends and very minor darkening of the cloth. Taves & Michaluk V024; Myers 29. Item #10608

Price: $375.00

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