THE TRAGIC MUSE. Henry James.
THE TRAGIC MUSE.

THE TRAGIC MUSE.

In Three Volumes. London: Macmillan and Co., 1890. Original blue cloth lettered in gilt.

First English Edition, which consisted of only 500 copies, published a week or two after the two-volume Boston edition. This was the last Henry James three-decker; 1894 is generally considered the year in which that format finally died, though one James title (THE OTHER HOUSE) did appear in two volumes in 1896.

THE TRAGIC MUSE marked the end of James's loyalty to Macmillan and Co., who had published all but one of his works since 1878 but would not do so again. As Supino notes,

The source of his dissatisfaction was Macmillan's insistence on the half-profits contract (that is, no cash advance and a percentage of the profits when and if the costs of production were met), Macmillan's absence of accountability, its elastic definition of costs, and its habit of remitting profits on a yearly rather than more frequent basis.

When Macmillan offered such a contract for THE TRAGIC MUSE, James wrote a letter stating that he would forego publication of the book in England; his agent A.P. Watt stepped in and managed to arrange a compromise for this one book, but the James-Macmillan connection had reached its end.

This is a very good-plus copy: the spines are a little askew and darkened, with light wear at the extremities; atypically, the original black-coated endpapers are clean and uncracked. These Henry James three-deckers have become quite difficult to find in collectible condition. Supino 34.8.0; Edel & Laurence A34b. Item #14272

Price: $2,250.00

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