... by N.P. Willis, J.R. Lowell, and R.W. Griswold. New York: J.S. Redfield, 1850 (Vol IV in 1856). 4 pp Vol I ads; 8 pp Vol IV ads. Original blind-stamped purple (and blue-grey) cloth.
First Collected Edition of Poe's writings, published beginning in the year following his sudden death at the age of 40. According to the Vol I note by Maria Clemm (Poe's aunt and mother-in-law), he had requested shortly before his death that Rufus Griswold act as literary executor and that N.P. Willis write "such observations upon his life and character, as he might deem suitable...". This is the resulting work, which she says is "published for my benefit" (she had assigned her rights in it to Redfield, for a fee).
The first two volumes were issued together in December 1849 or January 1850. The first volume (which includes a Poe portrait frontispiece) consists of Poe's "Tales" -- including all those for which he is famous -- "The Gold Bug," "The Murders of the Rue Morgue," "The Black Cat," "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Cask of Amontillado," "The Tell-Tale Heart" and so on; the second volume contains his verse such as "The Raven," "Lenore," "Annabel Lee," "The Conqueror Worm" and "Tamerlane." This pair is from the second printing, determinable by the ads in Vol I and on page 46 of Vol II; these volumes are in Blanck's faded-purple binding "D" (four filigree rules on spine, volume number in gilt).
Later in 1850 (September), a third volume THE LITERATI (etc. -- including Griswold's infamous "Sketch" of Poe) was issued; this copy is likewise in binding "D" but in blue-grey. Finally, six years later, a fourth and final volume including ARTHUR GORDON PYM was also issued -- Blanck's binding "H", here in purple, specific for this volume (but also used for 1853-1856 reprints of the earlier volumes).
This set is generally in very good condition, with minor wear at the extremities; the front endpaper is excised in Vols I, II and III; Vol II has some soil on pages 22-27; and Vol IV has darkened page margins, and a bit more edge-wear than the other volumes. Blanck 16158 + 16159 + 16161; Heartmann & Canny pp 129-131. Item #14596