POEMS. Charlotte Bronte, Emily, Anne.


By Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1846. Original blind-stamped olive green cloth.

First Edition, second (and usual) issue. This first book by any of the Brontë sisters was published by Aylott & Jones in May 1846, the edition consisting of 1000 copies. Only two copies sold that year, and by mid-1848 only 39 had been distributed (mostly as gifts). At that time Smith Elder, publisher of Charlotte's very successful JANE EYRE that year, bought the 961 remaining copies (mostly un­bound) and equipped them with Smith Elder title pages -- hoping to capitalize on Charlotte's sudden fame. However, even then POEMS sold poorly, with no more than about fifty copies a year being sold. In 1857, anticipating big sales due to the publicity of Mrs. Gaskell's LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE, Smith Elder bound up most of the remaining ones, but the 1000 initial copies were not fully exhausted until 1860.

Since Smith Elder bound and issued copies over a span of twelve years, there are many minor variations in binding and in collation of non-textual leaves. This copy is in the usual binding (with a harp design surrounded by a floral border); it has no ad leaf, does have a contents leaf, has no errata slip, and does have the "Westley's & Co." binder's ticket on the rear endpaper (these items all appear in some but not all copies). It is in very good condition, with minor wear at the joints and spine ends, and original delicate endpapers that are cracked but snug. The rare first issue by Aylott & Jones, when obtainable, is priced well into five figures. Smith pp 6-14. Item #14581

Price: $2,250.00

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