One of the First Modern Feminist Novels
No. 1 on Sadleir's list of "Comparative Scarcities"
"A Portrait of Debauchery That Is Remarkable"
[BRONTË, Anne]. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. By Acton Bell. In Three Volumes. London: T.C. Newby, 1848.
First edition, first issue, of Anne Brontë's second novel, with all of the flaws noted by Smith. Three twelvemo volumes (7 3/4 x 4 13/16 inches; 197 x 122 mm.). , 358; , 366; , 342 pp. Complete with the excessively rare half-title in Volume I, but without the final leaf of advertisements in Volume I. No half-titles called for in Volumes II and III.
Bound ca. 1900 by Rivière & Son (stamp-signed on the verso of the front free endpaper) in full tan polished calf. Covers with gilt triple fillet border and gilt corner ornaments, spine decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments with two brown morocco gilt lettering pieces, board edges ruled in gilt, turn-ins decoratively tooled in gilt, top edge gilt others uncut. With the armorial bookplate of Herbert S. Leon on the front pastedown of each volume. Housed in a custom made half tan calf clamshell case with raised bands and two green morocco lettering labels and felt-lined dividers.
An exceptional copy of what Sadleir calls the rarest Brontë title in first edition, in any state whatsoever (No. 1 in Sadleir's list of "Comparative Scarcities"). The Tenant is virtually unobtainable in an original publisher's binding and is notoriously rare in any binding, in any condition.
"This epistolary novel presents a portrait of debauchery that is remarkable in light of the author's sheltered life. It is the story of young Helen Graham's disastrous marriage to the dashing drunkard Arthur Huntingdon—said to be modeled on the author's wayward brother Branwell—and her flight from him to the seclusion of Wildfell Hall. Pursued by Gilbert Markham, who is in love with her, Graham refuses him and, by way of explanation, gives him her journal. There he reads of her wretched married life. Eventually, after Huntingdon's death, they marry" (Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature).
Condition details: Minimal foxing and mostly marginal soiling. Volume I with a tiny tear (1/8 inch) in the lower blank margin of D12 (pp. 71/72), not affecting text, and a faint dampstain in the outer margin of P6 (pp. 323/324). Volume II with small, very neat paper repairs to the outer blank margin of D7 (pp. 65/66) and F7 (pp. 109/110), a small faint stain in the upper corner of G3-G7 (pp. 129-138), and a small paper flaw in the upper blank margin of G6 (pp. 135/136). Volume III with a faint stain in the upper margin of D4 and D5 (pp. 55-58), a tiny tear in the outer margin of G3 (pp. 125/126), a short tear neatly repaired in the upper margin of G6 (pp. 131/132), and a tiny tear in the outer margin of P4 (pp. 323/324).
Smith, Brontë, 4. Parrish, p. 91.
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