Translated from the Original French, by Chas. E. Wilbour. [In Five Volumes, subtitled "Fantine," "Cosette," "Marius," "Saint Denis" and "Jean Valjean."] New York: Carleton, Publisher (late Rudd & Carleton), 1862. 4 pp ads in Vols I & II, 2 pp ads in Vols III & V, all undated. Original blind-stamped blue / green / green / purple / green cloth with gilt-decorated spines.
First American Edition (and perhaps the first edition in the English language) of Victor Hugo's five separate novels that combine to form the epic LES MISÉRABLES. This translation was published in the same year as the ten-volume Brussels and Paris first editions (which were issued in wrappers, though almost always found rebound today). This American edition was available in wrappers (at fifty cents per volume) or as here in cloth (at one dollar per volume). Hurst & Blackett's London three-decker edition, by a different translator, was also dated 1862; precedence between the American and English editions is unknown.
These five volumes are bound in blue, green or purple patterned cloth (no precedence), with blind-stamping on the covers and gilt decoration on the spines; at the foot of the spine, the publisher's name appears on all five volumes (which is not always the case). The endpapers, all original, are in varying shades of orange and pink. Condition is generally very good-plus, with minor wear at some extremities (Saint Denis a bit more than the others), and with minor foxing on some leaves; two or three of the volumes have some cover soil. The endpapers of the second volume are spottily darkened, and the front free endpaper of the final volume has a fore-corner chipped away. All of that said, the five volumes look better on the shelf than this description implies. It is noteworthy that the fly-leaf of the final volume bears an ownership signature dated October 28th 1862 -- just six or seven months after publication of the Brussels and Paris first editions in wrappers, which, when they seldom turn up, command a price north of $50,000. See Sadleir 3339 (UK edition). Item #14633