[the first appearance] A Christmas and New Year's Present. MDCCCXLIII. Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, n.d.. Original tan calf elaborately decorated in gilt, all page edges gilt.
First Appearance, first issue, of one of Poe's most famous -- and most terrifying -- tales. A prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition is tortured, culminating in "the pit and the pendulum" -- being tied down in totally dark dungeon, as a swinging razor-sharp pendulum slowly descends toward his chest. Unlike many of Poe's tales, this one does not invoke the supernatural -- relying instead upon pure horror.
The first issue of THE GIFT for 1843, as here, was actually published in September 1842, and includes a printed title page (with the subtitle "A Christmas and New Year's Present MDCCCXLIII") in addition to an engraved title plate; there was a subsequent printing that did not carry that subtitle, presumably because by then the holidays had gone by. This copy is in tan calf, one of several different types of leather used without priority.
This copy is in good-to-very good condition, with as usual some wear and darkening to the spine and joints (but the volume is tight); the original yellow endpapers are present but cracked. The elaborate gilt design on both covers remains quite bright. Heartman & Canny p. 69; Blanck 16137(-->8069). Housed in an open-backed cloth case. Item #14251