“HER MIND WAS CHARGED WITH PARADOX”: FIRST EDITION OF EMILY DICKINSON’S SECOND BOOK OF POEMS
DICKINSON, Emily. Poems. Second Series. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1891. Small octavo, original gilt-stamped olive cloth, beveled edges, top edge gilt. $6500.
First edition of Emily Dickinson’s second book of poetry, one of only 960 copies of the first printing.
Emily Dickinson published only 11 poems during her lifetime, but upon her death in 1886, her sister Lavinia discovered 1775 manuscript poems. Mabel Todd edited and published the three series of these poems until a quarrel between the Dickinson and Todd families led to a division of the manuscripts, preventing the further publication of complete and authoritative editions of Dickinson's poetry until 70 years after her death (Wolff). Dickinson's lyrics, "her letter to the world," offer an account "of the life about her, of tiny ecstasies set in motion by mutations of the seasons or by home and garden incidents, of candid insights into her own states of consciousness, and of speculations on the timeless mysteries of love and death. Her mind was charged with paradox" (Hart, 201). Second Series is the second of three books of Dickinson's poetry published by Mabel Todd. Myerson's Binding B (no priority established) with olive cloth gilt-stamped with Indian pipes design. Myerson A2.1a. BAL 4656. Clendenning 67. Jones Library, 17. Original owner ink signature, dated 1891; later pencil ownership signature.
A bit of foxing to endpapers only, text clean. Cloth only slightly darkened, gilt still bright. A near-fine copy.