TREASURE ISLAND. Robert Louis Stevenson.


London, Paris & New York: Cassell & Company, 1883. 4 pp ads dated July 1883. Original forest green cloth.

First Edition, earliest date of ads, of this classic. In late 1881 Stevenson wrote this tale, titled THE SEA COOK, merely as an amusement for his 12-year-old stepson. It was accepted for serial publication (pseudonymously by "Captain George North") in Young Folks magazine, the editor of which recommended the change of title to TREASURE ISLAND -- which Stevenson had used as the name of the island but not of the book. W.E. Henley at Cassell's then negotiated the book publication: Stevenson initially received 100 pounds, "a sight more than TREASURE ISLAND is worth," he told Henley.

The first edition consisted of 2000 copies, which were issued in four binding orders between 14 November and 11 December 1883. Some copies have ads curiously dated July 1883, while the majority has ads more properly dated October or December 1883. This copy does have the earliest (July) ads -- though it does not necessarily follow that these were the first bound up. In this copy the "8" is missing from the p. 83 pagination, and the "7" is boldly printed in the p. 127 pagination (both defects are related to type slippage during the 2000-copy printing; there seems to be no correlation between these defects and the ad dates or the cloth colors). Some dealers persist in citing "dead man's chest" and a few other misspellings as issue points -- which they are not, since every first edition copy has them.

This copy is in forest green cloth (we have also had red, blue, terra-cotta and sage green -- no priority). The volume is in very good condition, neatly (though unnecessarily) re-backed -- one cannot see, but can feel, something extraneous under the spine cloth; the original black-coated endpapers were retained, with thin slivers of matching paper at the two gutters. As always with this book, the volume is slightly askew; there are a few light scratches and there is minor rubbing at the extremities, but this is highly-acceptable copy of a book increasingly difficult to find in desirable condition. Beinecke (Yale) 240; Princeton 22. Item #14554

Price: $7,750.00

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