Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel HAWTHORNE

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Item#: 127211 price:$5,500.00

Scarlet Letter
Scarlet Letter

"GLOWS WITH THE FIRE OF A SUPPRESSED, SECRET, FEVERISH EXCITEMENT": FIRST EDITION OF THE SCARLET LETTER

HAWTHORNE, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter, a Romance. Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, 1850. Octavo, 20th-century three-quarter red morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edge gilt. $5500.

First edition of Hawthorne's American classic, one of only 2500 copies printed, handsomely bound.

"Since 1837, when he had written [the short story] 'Endicott and the Red Cross,' he had often been tormented by a symbol—a scarlet 'A,' worn by an adultress in that tale—which had, at last, worked its way into a full-length book" (Kunitz & Haycraft, 349). The first edition of The Scarlet Letter sold out in ten days and "made Hawthorne's fame, changed his fortune and gave to our literature its first symbolic novel a year before the appearance of Melville's Moby-Dick" (Bradley et al., 652). The novel "glows with the fire of a suppressed, secret, feverish excitement… a fire that neither wanes nor lessens, but keeps at its original scorching heat for years" (Allibone I:805). Clark's typesetting states x2 and a2, no priority established. Without publisher's advertisements. Clark A16.1; BAL 7600. Wakeman 308. Bookplate.

Only occasional light foxing, chiefly marginal; binding handsome and fine.

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