FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST WORK PUBLISHED BY THE BRONTË SISTERS: POEMS BY CURRER, ACTON, AND ELLIS BELL, IN ORIGINAL CLOTH
(BRONTE, Charlotte, Emily and Anne). Poems by Currer, Acton and Ellis Bell. London: Smith, Elder, 1846 . Slim octavo, original blind-stamped olive cloth rebacked in brown with original spine laid down. $3800.
First edition, second issue (as virtually always), of the Brontës' first published work, in original cloth. Only 39 copies with the first-issue title page were sold; this is one of the remaining 961 copies issued with a cancel title page.
In the autumn of 1845, Charlotte Brontë accidentally came upon a manuscript of verses by her sister Emily, the discovery of which led to the first publishing venture of the three Brontë sisters. Charlotte later explained the decision to use pseudonyms: "Without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called 'feminine,' we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice" (Barker, 479). The book, containing 19 poems by Charlotte, and 21 each by Emily and Anne, was first published by Aylott and Jones in 1846 in an edition of 1000 copies; it was a commercial failure and after only a few copies were sold or otherwise distributed the remainder of the edition was put into storage. Following the success of Jane Eyre, Smith, Elder bought the 961 unsold sheets and binding cases, and reissued the work in October of 1848 with a cancel title page dated 1846. Without rare errata slip and with publisher's catalogue, both absent in most copies. Smith 1. Evidence of bookplate removal. Binder ticket. Tiny blindstamp.
Interior generally fine, a few spots to original cloth. An extremely good copy.