THE POINT OF HONOR. A Military Tale. Joseph Conrad.
THE POINT OF HONOR. A Military Tale.

THE POINT OF HONOR. A Military Tale.

[inscribed by Conrad] Illustrations by Dan Sayre Groesbeck. New York: The McClure Company, 1908. Original green cloth pictorially decorated in white.

First Separate (and First American) Edition. Earlier in 1908 this tale was published in England (as "The Duel") with five others in A SET OF SIX; it was McClure's publication of this tale that caused the delay in the publication of the American edition of A SET OF SIX until 1915. (Also, no publisher was in a hurry to do so: in 1908 Conrad's career was at its nadir, but his star rose again after CHANCE hit it big in 1914.)

This copy is in the first and usual binding, with "McClure" at the foot of the spine. (THE POINT OF HONOR was published in September 1908; by November, the publisher McClure was forced to sell his assets to Doubleday Page, and subsequently-bound copies bear the new publisher's name at the foot of the spine.) This is a bright, very good-plus copy (some wrinkling of the cloth). Cagle A13c.

This is an inscribed presentation copy from Conrad, with this inscription on the front free endpaper: "To | Miss Alicia Gâchet | with the Author's | very kind regards | 1908". The inscription is typical for this stage (the nadir) of Conrad's career -- which is to say, unsigned and understated, without the flourish that he would add after CHANCE revived his career in 1914.

We do not know exactly who Alicia Gâchet was, but she was undoubtedly a relative of the Frenchwoman Marguerite Poradowska (1848-1937), née Marguerite Gâchet de la Fournière. Marguerite's Polish husband was Joseph Conrad's cousin Aleksander Poradowski; Conrad first met her when he traveled to Brussels in 1890, to inquire about crewing on a boat trip up the Congo River (from which would spring "Heart of Darkness"). Aleksander died two days after Conrad arrived, and there followed a close relationship (mainly literary, but some say rather romantic) between Conrad and Marguerite; she, having already authored two books, would be a very important confidante during the years (1890-1895) leading up to the publication of his first novel (his letters to her were published in 1940). (As an aside, Marguerite was also a cousin (or niece?) of Paul-Ferdinand Gâchet, a homeopathic physician and amateur artist who was friend and doctor for many of the Impressionists such as Cézanne, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir -- and Van Gogh, whose portrait of the doctor is one of his best-known paintings; his son ultimately donated his art collection to the Musée d'Orsay, and as recently as 1999 there was a Met exhibit of his collection.). Item #14841

Price: $2,450.00