“THE GREATEST OF ALL ENGLISH STORIES FOR CHILDREN”: FIRST EDITIONS IN ORIGINAL CLOTH OF LEWIS CARROLL’S ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND AND THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS
CARROLL, Lewis. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. WITH: Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. London: Macmillan, 1866, 1872. Together, two volumes. Octavo, original gilt-stamped pictorial red cloth expertly rebacked with original spines laid down. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. $35,000.
First editions in original cloth of “the greatest of all English stories for children,” the first authorized edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the first edition of Through the Looking-Glass.
"Historians of children's literature universally agree that the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland marks the liberation of children's books from the restraining hand of the moralists. Didacticism could not be entirely banished from the nursery… but the two Alice books showed what could be achieved without it, and completed the reinstatement of the imagination, so long disapproved of by the opponents of fairy stories, to its proper place. Alice is, in a word, a book of that extremely rare kind which will belong to all the generations to come until the language becomes obsolete" (Carpenter and Prichard, 102). The first published and authorized English edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, preceded only by the extraordinarily rare suppressed 1865 London edition, of which only about twenty copies are known to exist, and the scarce New York edition of 1866. First edition, first issue, of Through the Looking-Glass, with misprint "wade" on page 21 (instead of "wabe" as correctly printed in mirror-image on same page). Lewis Carroll Handbook, 46, 84. Early owner signature in Alice's Adventures, dated 1872. Bookplate in Through the Looking-Glass of Carroll scholar and collector Philip Conklin Blackburn, one of the editors of the 1934 Carroll anthology, Logical Nonsense, and the bibliographer of Morris Parrish's esteemed Carroll collection. Blackburn himself was the owner of over 500 Carroll works and pieces of Carrolliana collected over just two decades. Blackburn's collection is believed to have been sold intact (or nearly so) in 1990 after remaining in family hands for over half a century. Early owner signature on the half title Through the Looking-Glass. Small binder's ticket.
Interiors generally quite clean with only a few stray spots, light wear and soiling to bindings, mild toning to spines. An exceptionally good set, particularly desirable in original cloth.