Item #15258 EXCURSIONS. Henry Thoreau, avid.


Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1863. 1 preliminary page undated ads. Original blind-stamped blue-green cloth with gilt-decorated spine.

First Edition, first and only printing that was dated 1863, which consisted of just 1558 copies (1500 of which were bound up) -- priced at $1.00. This posthumous collection of naturalist essays (including "A Winter Walk," "Autumnal Tints" and "Night and Moonlight") was Thoreau's third book, preceded only by A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS (1849) and WALDEN (1854). When Thoreau died of tuberculosis in May 1862 (at the age of 44), nothing of his had been published during the eight years since WALDEN. The editor of this book was the author's sister, Sophia Thoreau; the 26-page "Biographical Sketch" of Thoreau was by his friend and neighbor Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Ticknor & Fields wished to pay a royalty of 10¢ but Thoreau's sister... preferred 15¢. According to the T&F cost books the matter was settled by paying her 12½¢ per copy [Borst].

This copy is in the zigzag or "sawtooth" grain cloth (Blanck's "TR" grain, horizontal); others are in pebbled cloth, or in cloth with a triangular pattern (no priority; the gilt and blind-stamping on all three types of cloth is identical).

This is a close to FINE copy (a faint scratch on the front cover, a small rubbed spot on the lower spine); the spine gilt is unusually bright, and the original brown endpapers are clean and intact. The engraved frontispiece portrait of Thoreau -- the first publication of his likeness anywhere -- is clean and sharp; as always, in spite of the presence of the original frontispiece tissue, it has lightly offset onto the title page. EXCURSIONS has become notoriously difficult to find in this condition. Borst A3.1.a; Blanck 20111. Item #15258

Price: $2,250.00

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