In Two Volumes. Harper's Library Edition. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1873 [both volumes]. Original green cloth.
First American Edition, second issue (printing?) -- of George Eliot's best-known book, and what is today regarded as one of the greatest literary accomplishments of the 19th Century. The novel first appeared in eight wrappered five-shilling parts in England, one issued every two months beginning on 1 Dec 1871 and ending on 2 Dec 1872 (the last two were sped up) -- soon after which (early December) the novel was also available in four cloth-bound volumes.
Meanwhile in America, Harper was serializing MIDDLEMARCH in Harper's Weekly, from Dec 16 1871 through Feb. 15 1873. The week of Dec 28 1872, Harper published the novel in two volumes -- the first American edition -- as Vols VI and VII of their "Novels of George Eliot," and with "Harper's Library Edition" on the title pages. In that first issue, Vol I was dated 1872 and Vol II 1873. This set is from the second issue, with both title pages dated 1873 but otherwise identical; B&R calls this the "inferred second printing," though it is possible that these were the same textual leaves equipped with one new title leaf. Also in early 1873, Harper published a second edition of the novel in one volume, in the standard two-column format of their "Library of Select Novels" -- bound either in paper wrappers or in cloth. (B&R specifies the publication date neither for this "assumed second printing" of the first edition, nor for the one-volume second edition, so we do not know which of these two preceded the other.)
Condition is just about fine (just a trace of rubbing and speckling). The American MIDDLEMARCH -- either of these Harper editions -- is curiously scarce, especially in condition this close to fine. Baker & Ross A10.4.b. Item #14505