[Edward Garnett's copy] A Story of an Eastern River. Second Edition. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1896. Original dark green cloth.
First Edition, early but not first printing, of Conrad's first book. The first printing came out in 1895 (bearing that date on the title page) -- some domestic copies and some colonial; later in 1895 a second printing was issued, on thicker paper and bearing colonial ads on the half-title verso. Then there were two further printings dated 1896, one on laid paper for domestic use reading "Second Edition" (as here), and the other on wove paper reading "Colonial Edition" (but both with those colonial ads). Due to the paper used, this 1896 edition is noticeably thicker than the 1895 one; also the p. 110 missing letters are in this printing restored.
This is a near-fine copy (endpapers slightly cracked). Cagle A1a (notes).
The front endpaper of this copy bears the signature of Edward Garnett -- whose importance at this stage of Joseph Conrad's career was supreme. Conrad, after meeting the real "Olmeijer" in East Borneo in 1887, gradually produced the manuscript of this book over the six years 1889-1895. He submitted it to T. Fisher Unwin for consideration in their "Pseudonym Library", using the pseudonym "Kamudi" (Malayan for "rudder") -- enclosing the return postage, so sure was he of its rejection. However, Unwin's reader Edward Garnett saw the manuscript's promise and accepted it for non-pseudonymous publication -- and is thus credited with "discovering" Joseph Conrad the writer. By 1896, when this "second edition" came out, Garnett was actively involved with Conrad in the manuscript of Conrad's second book AN OUTCAST OF THE ISLANDS -- so much so, that some biographers have suggested that Garnett's name could have appeared as co-author on the title page. Item #13421