[two volumes, original wrappers] A Novel. By the Author of "Jane Eyre" [sic]. [In Two Volumes.] New York: Harper & Brothers, 1848. Original light brown printed wrappers.
First American Edition of one of the greatest novels of the Nineteenth Century. Emily Brontë's ("Ellis Bell's") WUTHERING HEIGHTS was published in England in December 1847 together with her sister Anne's ("Acton Bell's") AGNES GREY. Although it was their sister Charlotte ("Currer Bell") who was the driving force behind all three sisters' simultaneous effort to publish, it was Charlotte's novel, titled THE PROFESSOR, that was rejected -- but with praise, so that she was encouraged to submit another effort that she would call JANE EYRE (which would wind up getting published a few months earlier, and by a larger publisher, than her two sisters' books).~This first American edition was published in April 1848 simultaneously in wrappers (two volumes at 25 cents each) and in cloth (one volume at 75 cents) -- "both bindings contain the original printed sheets, and copies in either binding constitute the first American edition" [Smith]. It is interesting to note that the American edition indicates that WUTHERING HEIGHTS is "by the author of JANE EYRE" -- which of course it is not (the English edition had instead used Emily's pseudonym, Ellis Bell). Whether Harper truly thought both novels were by the same writer (or were confused by the similar pseudonyms), or whether Harper sought to stimulate the sales of WUTHERING HEIGHTS by intentionally misrepresenting the author, is an intriguing question.~As Smith points out (Note 2), the two-parts issue is unusual in that Part I ends right in the middle of a sentence, and Part II takes up with the rest of that sentence, without so much as a separate title page. (Part II does, however, have its own wrapper, so identified on front wrapper and on spine.)~In this set, the rear wrapper of each volume is as described by Smith (headed "Recent Works of Fiction by Popular Authors" and "Choice Library of Modern Romance" respectively); Smith also cites a secondary rear wrapper for Part II, and we have encountered a third version.~Condition is very good, considering the fragility of these wrappered volumes. Both front wrappers have minor edge-wear, and bear the same early inscription in the upper margin, "Mrs. M. Hildreth with the respects of Miss Hall." The rear wrapper of Part I has an upper corner chipped away (affecting half of the last word in its heading; the rear wrapper of Part II is quite complete, with minimal wear. Both spines are a bit askew (as with the only other set we have had), and each lacks about one inch of wrapper at an end (not affecting print though). Inside, there is a damp-stain on the first few leaves of Part I, and the initial blank leaf in Part II is damaged; however, the textual leaves are remarkably free of wear, soil or foxing. This is only the second time we have EVER had both volumes in original wrappers, in our 35+ years in business (we also once had a Part II only) -- truly a rare edition. Now that the English first edition in original binding has surpassed $100,000 in value, this two-volume American edition in wrappers is a highly-desirable alternative at a fraction of the cost. Smith pp 70-74. Item #13856