London: Chatto and Windus, 1882. 32 pp ads dated May 1883. Original olive green cloth decorated in brown and black.
First Edition of this early Stevenson title, which consisted of only 1000 copies. These nine essays on other writers (included are two Americans, Whitman and Thoreau) had appeared in periodicals, primarily The Cornhill, between 1874 and 1881. From Davos in October 1881, Stevenson added the Preface and placed the collection with Chatto & Windus -- his initial relationship with the publisher that would handle most of his later works. For the book Stevenson received £100 -- "a sum no doubt given with the further understanding that Chatto and Windus would thus acquire the rights to Stevenson's three earlier books, published by C. Kegan Paul and Company, and first refusal of future books" [Swearingen].~This copy has ads dated May 1883, indicating that the publisher was still having copies bound up the year following publication -- "the variant dates of the catalogues bound in have no significance as to priority of copies" [Beinecke]. This is a very good-plus copy (spine slightly sunned, lower fore-corners bumped, minor bubbling of the cloth); the volume remains tight despite the fact that this volume comes from the ill-conceived early-1880s experiment of binding with (now-rusted) staples rather than string. Beinecke 112; Princeton 15 (copy 5). Item #13656