[the Bancroft / Groves copy] New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1899. 4 pp undated ads. Original tan cloth pictorially decorated in red, black, blue and gilt.
First Edition of this collection of about 240 very brief (less than one page each) fables. "[Bierce's] 1899 publication of FANTASTIC FABLES anticipated the grotesquerie style that would emerge in the 20th Century, exemplified by the works of Katherine Anne Porter... They are often absurd and feature an ironic twist" [AmLit]. This Bierce volume, published actually at the end of 1898, is sought largely for its magnificent binding (initialed "S"), with five-color pictorial scenes on both the front cover and spine.
This copy has the ads in the first state, starting off with books by Anna Fuller. Although this book typically turns up with its spine severely darkened and with its gilt mostly eroded away, this is an unusually fine, bright copy. Blanck 1120. Provenance: armorial bookplate of the industrialist and collector Samuel Bancroft Jr. (1840-1915) of Rockford Park, Wilmington Delaware; small leather bookplate of the noteworthy book collector John Stuart Groves, whose library was distributed during the 1930s. Item #14468