["Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity!"] New York: Dix & Edwards, 1856. 7 pp undated ads. Original blind-stamped brown cloth.
First Edition of Melville's only collection of short stories. Included are the well-known "Benito Cereno" and "Bartleby [the Scrivener]", as well as "The Lightning-Rod Man, "The Encantadas" and two others. "Bartleby" has long been a favorite, with its mysterious Wall Street copyist who invariably responds "I would prefer not to" to almost any instruction or request. It has been said that the tale reflects Melville's sense of futility at the time, due to the public's neglect of his novels (his own "dead letters").
This copy is in brown vertically-ribbed cloth ("T"), one of eight cloth styles/colors cited by Blanck for this title (no priority); the endpapers are dull yellow (one of four colors, of no known precedence). In this copy the signature mark 14* does appear (precedence unknown, per Blanck).
Condition is very good (spine gilt a bit dull as usual, minor wear at the head of the spine and top of rear board); the front endpaper is cracked, that paste-down has a small shadow from a former booklabel, and a marginal fore-corner is chipped away on the last two textual leaves. In our experience, THE PIAZZA TALES seldom seems to turn up in much better condition. Blanck 13669. Item #15212