“OUR FIRST IMPORTANT NOVELIST” (WINTERICH): FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF COOPER’S THE PATHFINDER
COOPER, James Fenimore. The Pathfinder: Or, The Inland Sea. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1840. Two volumes. Octavo, original plum cloth, original printed paper spine labels. $1500.
First American edition, third issue, in original cloth.
The Pathfinder, which recounts Natty Bumppo’s adventures during the French and Indian Wars, is the fourth of Cooper’s “Leatherstocking Tales” according to publication, but the third according to the series’ internal chronology. It includes one of the author’s best-written episodes, featuring his most successful Native American heroine, Dew-of-June, and the siege of the blockhouse. “Readers in all nations where American books have been read at all have regarded [Natty Bumppo] as a supreme characterization in our native literature” (Downs, 75). “Probably printed first in Philadelphia by T.K. and P.G. Collins for Lea and Blanchard, Philadelphia”; the London edition appeared on February 25, 1840 and this American edition on March 14 (Spiller & Blackburn 30). Third issue, with copyright notice in Volume I and page 2 numbered. BAL 3892. Winterich, Writers in America, 9-13. Bookplates.
Scattered light foxing, as usual. Paper labels rubbed and spines lightly sunned. Small chip to top extremity of front board of Volume II and corresponding small dampstain to approximately first half of text block. Overall an exceptionally good copy in the notoriously fragile original publisher’s cloth.