Tale of Benjamin Bunny

Beatrix POTTER

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Item#: 124767 price:$13,500.00

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POTTER, Beatrix. The Tale of Benjamin Bunny. London and New York: Frederick Warne and Co., 1904. 16mo, original tan boards, mounted cover illustration, pictorial endpapers. Housed in custom cloth chemise and half morocco slipcase. $13,500.

First edition of the fourth of Potter's delightful books to be published, warmly inscribed by the author approximately two months after publication: "For Elsa Blackwall with love from Miss Potter, Nov. 4th '04."

"It is impossible to define the charm of a book by Beatrix Potter. The shape, the size, the colors used, the phraseology of the text, are all exactly right; but none of these physical qualities can explain why they go straight to the heart of every child who is lucky enough to have them read to him at the right age, and of every adult that does the reading" (Eyre, 39). "While [Potter] was still working on the proofs and final drawings for The Tailor of Gloucester in the summer of 1903, the publishers asked her about another book. She responded to Norman Warne, 'I had been a little hoping too that something might be said about another book, but I did not know that I was the right person to make the suggestion!" (Grinstein, 81). Potter intentionally shied away from what she regarded as the complexity of Tailor and Squirrel Nutkin when crafting this tale. She "prepared the text with great care, having tried it out on various children she knew" (Linder, 145). Her lovely backgrounds depict the garden at Fawe Park near Keswick, where she spent the summer of 1903. Ultimately, Benjamin Bunny—whose title character shared the name of Potter's own pet rabbit—"may be understood as an epilogue to The Tale of Peter Rabbit. In it, Potter undoes a number of the anxiety elements present in the first story as well as in some in the story of Squirrel Nutkin. In this way she brings about a satisfactory resolution of the two stories, almost as if she were now finishing them with a fairy tale ending" (Grinstein, 81-83). First edition, first issue, with "muffatees" (as opposed to "muffetees" in second issue onward) and "we" in Roman type (as opposed to italics in second issue onward) on page 15. Issued in both gray and tan paper boards, no priority. Without extremely scarce original glassine dust jacket. Quinby 6. Linder, 424. Connolly, 238. Cooper & Cooper, 33.

Interior generally quite clean, minimal soiling to first two leaves not affecting Potter's pencil inscription, slightest abrasions to boards mostly at edges, light soiling. A lovely and most desirable copy in extremely good condition, inscribed by one of the most beloved of children's authors.

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