[a fine copy] By Count Lyof N. Tolstoï. Translated by Nathan Haskell Dole. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Company, n.d.[c1886]. Original dark blue cloth stamped in gilt.
First American Edition (and first edition in the English language) -- early if not first issue. This is Tolstoy's great tragedy of a woman's faith in romantic love -- it and the earlier WAR AND PEACE are considered Tolstoy's two masterpieces. The original publication in eight parts in Russian came out serially in The Russian Messenger, between 1873 and 1877, and then in book form in 1878. Considered one of the great novels of world literature, Anna Karenina has been filmed numerous times -- beginning in 1911 (which has not survived), through 2012 (screenplay by Tom Stoppard, starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law).
The publisher Crowell did not put a publication date on his title pages, so the only date on any copy is the copyright date of 1886. Copies bearing only that copyright date were issued over a number of years -- perhaps decades -- with variations in cloth color, endpapers (leafy-floral or plain), the presence or absence of a list of books opposite the title page, the presence or absence of Crowell's monogram (and varying NYC street addresses for Crowell) on the title page, the presence or absence of the Boston printer's imprint, and the presence or absence of (undated) ads. In this copy, Crowell's monogram does appear on the title page, where his address is given as 13 Astor Place, where Crowell was ensconced (at Clinton Hall) from 1881 until 1893, when the firm moved to East 14th Street. This copy is in dark blue cloth, has the light-brown leafy-patterned endpapers, but does not have the preliminary list of titles, the printer's imprint, nor the ads.
There has been no comprehensive analysis of these issue points, so NO copy should be described definitely as "first issue." This copy is most likely an early but not first issue (it includes an ownership inscription dated March 17th 1890).
Given the lack of certainty regarding issue points, we consider a copy's condition to be paramount in importance -- and this is a remarkably fine copy, with scarcely any soil or wear, with the gilt still bright, and with the endpapers clean and intact. Item #14632