Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1861. 16 pp terminal ads, undated. Original blind-stamped cinnamon-brown cloth.
First Edition of George Eliot's only single-volume novel ("a short and simple one, but flawlessly fashioned"). This was her third novel, following ADAM BEDE and THE MILL ON THE FLOSS (published in the prior two years, also by Blackwood); after SILAS MARNER she would temporarily abandon her successful environment of rural England, and fail miserably with ROMOLA, sited in Italy.
This copy is in Carter's "binding B," with the less elaborate gilt-work on the spine (a variation also present on Eliot's two prior novels); Carter theorizes that if either binding preceded the other, it would be "A", but acknowledges that the two may have been concurrent. In some copies, two leaves of Alexander Carlyle ads are at the front, in some copies they are at the rear preceding the usual 16-page catalogue (present), and in some copies (as here) they are not present at all -- no known priority.
This copy is externally near-fine, with only a trace of wear at the extremities -- but for some reason the volume was at some point recased (but not re-backed), with later yellow-coated endpapers affixed in place over the original paste-downs. Sadleir 819 ("B" binding); Wolff 2063 (binding not specified); Carter BV pp 110-112. Item #14828