[inscribed by Lewis Carroll] With Forty-six Illustrations [each] by Harry Furniss. [Together, two volumes.] London: Macmillan and Co., 1889/1893. 3 pp / 5 pp undated ads. Original red cloth pictorially decorated in gilt, all page edges gilt.
First Editions of Carroll's rather serious fairy tales.
SYLVIE AND BRUNO, with its conclusion in 1893, was the last considerable work by Dodgson. Though he fully explains in the Preface... the principles on which he introduces many solemn pages into his fairy tale, the serious subjects of life and science cannot be thus inserted without marring the effect of the whole... Somehow the light and airy touch of ALICE is wanting, but there is plenty of amusing incident and entertaining verse. There is hardly any plot: Sylvie and Bruno, after living with a Warden, Sub-Warden, Professor, Beggar, Gardener, Uggug (the young artist) and others, are conducted by the Gardener into Elfland, ride on a lion, visit Dogland, and so on... [The illustrations] are rightly described by Dodgson (Preface, p. ix) as wonderful. [WM&G]
The books were not a success; in fact new copies of the second volume were still being sold as late as 1939. The dedicatory verses hide the names of the dedicatee (Isa Bowman and Enid Stevens respectively), the former one doubly.
This SYLVIE AND BRUNO is a presentation copy inscribed in violet ink by Carroll, "Mrs Jackson | from the Author | [flourish] Dec. 12, 1889". (The precise date of publication of this edition is unrecorded, but the earliest presentation copy cited by WM&G is the same date as this copy's, as was another inscribed copy we have sold.) Most of Carroll's inscriptions were accomplished with this violet ink; "from the Author" was his standard, modest signature.
These volumes are in very good-plus condition. SYLVIE AND BRUNO has some general mottling of the red cloth, quite minor wear at the spine ends, and some small marks on the rear cover; the rear endpaper is cracked. CONCLUDED has some minor discoloration on the spine but is otherwise near-fine externally; its endpapers too show some cracking. Loosely inserted in the latter volume is Carroll's Christmas 1893 "Advertisement" requesting buyers of the latest edition of THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS to return their copies due to defective illustrations; this ad leaf has a damp-mark on a lower corner. Williams Madan & Green 217 & 250. In an open-back slipcase. Item #14803