"ONE OF THE WORLD'S LITERARY MASTERPIECES": FIRST EDITION OF JOSEPH CONRAD'S LORD JIM—THE DOHENY COPY
CONRAD, Joseph. Lord Jim, A Tale. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1900. Octavo, original green cloth, uncut. Housed in a custom chemise and half morocco slipcase. $7000.
First edition, first issue, of Conrad's brilliant exploration of morality and the torment of guilt, "second only to Heart of Darkness in renown," unusually bright in the original cloth—the Doheny copy, with her morocco bookplate.
To critic Cedric Watts, Conrad's Lord Jim is "one of the world's literary masterpieces… Conrad, like Britannia, rules the waves… a book of the rare literary quality of Lord Jim is something to receive with gratitude and joy." Though he began working on it in 1898, with the intent of a short story, the novel ultimately "took itself into its own hands, and swept its writer with it into a profound study of a psychic phenomenon" (New York Times Book Review). "Second only to Heart of Darkness in renown" (Joseph Conrad Companion), Lord Jim is "the first full-length work of Conrad's artistic maturity… the novel is, moreover, deeply personal, with roots in Conrad's past… [and] has retained its place as one of Conrad's most widely enjoyed and studied books. It has remained so for the brilliance of its technical innovations as well." Lord Jim would prove a major influence on Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby and on the works of Faulkner, Hemingway and Robert Penn Warren, who have each "acknowledged the importance of Conrad's fiction" (Cambridge Companion). First edition, with all first issue points, including: "any rate" printed as one word (77:5); "keep" missing after "can" and "cure" should be "cured" (226:7 lines from bottom); "his" out of alignment (319:last line). Serialized in Blackwood's Magazine, beginning in late 1899. As issued without dust jacket. Cagle A5.a. Keating 25. Smith 5. Wise 7. This volume is from the celebrated collection of Estelle Doheny and bears her morocco-gilt bookplate. "One of the earliest female book collectors in the United States, Estelle Doheny, purchased her first rare book in 1931 and continued buying books and manuscripts until her death in 1958. She is the only woman collector who developed a library notable for both its scope and quality" (DePaul University).
Mild foxing to fore-edge and first few and last few leaves; light rubbing to joints, binding sound, cloth clean, gilt bright. A near-fine copy, with excellent provenance.