“THE CONTRAST AND APPARENT CONTRADICTION BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE AUTHOR”
THOMPSON, Slason. Eugene Field. A Study in Heredity and Contradictions. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1901. Two volumes. Octavo, contemporary three-quarter burgundy morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edges gilt, uncut. $650.
First edition of this biography, with 56 illustrations, including half-tone plates, drawings and facsimile, handsomely bound by Sickles.
A prolific satirical columnist for the Chicago Daily News, Field also penned many “sentimental celebrations of childhood, some set to music as lullabies” (including his well-known “Little Boy Blue” and “Wynken, Blynken and Nod”), as well as wildly popular poems celebrating the American frontier; A Little Book of Western Verse (first published in 1889), in fact, “went through 20 editions in the following decade… Field resisted offers from eastern publishers, favoring the open air of the West over the restricting atmosphere of the East.” His favorite subject matter, however, was “of the fireside and family, nostalgic reminiscences of an age of innocence” (ANB). Field died six years before this biography was published.