Item #15388 ROUGHING IT. Mark Twain.


[with page edges gilt] Fully Illustrated by Eminent Artists. (Issued by Subscription Only, and Not for Sale in Bookstores...) Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Company [etc.], 1872. 1 page undated ads. Original black cloth decorated in gilt, all page edges gilt.

First American Edition, mixed issue, of this very early Twain title -- his fourth major book. In July 1861, as the Civil War was getting underway, Twain headed out west as private secretary to his brother Orion, who had just been appointed Secretary of Nevada Territory; Twain's "account of the continental crossing with Orion is a full-throated celebration of a golden era, of travel, youth, adventure, and America's last frontier" [Kaplan].

According to Blanck, the first issue is identifiable by the proper presence of two words in lines 20-21 on p. 242 (here, as is often the case, one of the two words is lacking due to type slippage); this copy does not have ads on p. [592] (no precedence certain). MacDonnell goes on to identify three other cases of type slippage (on pages xi, 19 and 123); here two of the three are unworn. More importantly, MacDonnell also identifies two cases of actual word substitution (on pages 156 and 330): in this copy, both have the earlier reading.

This copy has all page edges gilt, a feature for which subscribers paid extra. The volume is in bright, close-to-fine condition (the slightest of wear at the spine ends). MacDonnell pp 35-36; Blanck 3337; McBride p. 18.

In our experience, it is quite difficult to find desirable copies of the first three of Twain's books that were issued in this hefty, oversized format (THE INNOCENTS ABROAD in 1869, this title in 1872, and THE GILDED AGE in 1873); it is not that hard to find the fourth and last (A TRAMP ABROAD in 1879). A desirable copy with all page edges gilt is scarcer still.

Provenance: front free endpaper bookplate of William H. Matchett (1923-2021), poet and English professor at the University of Washington. Item #15388

Price: $2,250.00

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