“TRUST THYSELF: EVERY HEART VIBRATES TO THAT IRON STRING”: FIRST EDITIONS OF EMERSON’S ESSAYS, FIRST AND SECOND SERIES, INCLUDING HIS CELEBRATED ESSAY ON SELF-RELIANCE, LOVELY FIRST ISSUES IN ORIGINAL CLOTH-GILT
EMERSON, Ralph Waldo. Essays. WITH: Essays: Second Series. Boston: James Munroe, 1841-44. Two volumes. Octavo, original dark green cloth. Housed in custom cloth slipcase. $9800.
First editions of Emerson’s first and second series of timeless essays, scarce in original cloth.
"Emerson's fame… rests securely upon the fact that he had something of importance to say, and that he said it with a beautiful freshness which does not permit his best pages to grow old… Let men but stand erect and 'go alone,' he said, and they can possess the universe" (ANB). "Timeless, and without a trace of 'dating,' these essays are as readable, and to a considerable extent as much read, today as a hundred years ago" (Grolier, 100 American 47). The first series, which contains 12 essays, includes Emerson's celebrated "Self-Reliance," as well as essays on love, friendship, heroism, "the Over-Soul," the intellect and art. The second series includes "The Poet," "Experience" and "Nature," in addition to essays on politics, character and manners. BAL bindings F and A, no priorities established. First issue of first series. First edition of Second Series with 20 of Myerson's first issue points, 3 second issue points ("nearly every copy examined is composed of mixed sheets," according to Myerson), and same mispagination as noted in Myerson. Myerson A.10.1.a and A.16.1.a-b. BAL 5189, 5198. Bradley et al., 1037-1039. Contemporary owner signature and notation indicating he bought the book from the publisher ("J. Munroe… $1.00 Oct 23, 1844"), bookplates in First Series. Early gift inscription in Second Series: "Rufus Ellis from his Brother George." Born about a decade after Emerson, both Rufus and George Ellis were, like Emerson, Harvard graduates who became Unitarian ministers in Boston. George Ellis graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 1836, two years before Emerson delivered his important "Divinity School Address" there.
Interiors fine, both volumes with mild wear to corners and spine extremities. Near-fine condition.