SALESMAN’S DUMMY FOR MARK TWAIN’S A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT
TWAIN, Mark. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court [Salesman’s Dummy]. New York: Charles L. Webster & Company, 1889. Slim octavo, original three-quarter (front cover) and full (rear cover) brown morocco, marbled endpapers (front) and patterned endpapers (rear), with original cloth front cover mounted to rear pastedown and morocco and sheep spines mounted to front pastedown. $4200.
Original salesman’s dummy for A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, with engraved frontispiece portrait, select illustrations and excerpts, and samples of the morocco and sheep spines affixed to the front pastedown, and the gilt-decorated cloth cover and spine affixed to the rear pastedown.
Salesman’s dummies (also called salesman’s samples or prospectuses) were meant to be taken door-to-door to show potential subscribers. This dummy features the three-quarter morocco binding as the front cover and the full, decorated morocco binding as the rear cover, with samples of the possible leather spines and the original pictorial cloth within, to easily show a potential customer all of the binding possibilities. The text consists of several sections of the book and a number of full-page illustrations. At the rear are two pages of advertisements and 15 leaves of ruled paper intended to be filled with orders (with the headings: “Subscribers’ Names,” “Residence,” “Style of Binding” and “No. of Copies”). “The novel is a characteristic Twainian amalgam of fantasy and fun, observation and satire, that both amuses and provokes powerful reflection as it confronts the customs of olden times with the brash values of the New World” (Lacy, 478). This title is Twain’s first collaboration with illustrator Dan Beard. “Since Twain enthusiastically approved every drawing in the novel, it should be read as a full collaboration between the author and artist” (LeMaster & Wilson, 64). See BAL 3429; Johnson, McBride, 124; MacDonnell, 48-49. Two subscribers’ names neatly inked in on first sheet at rear.
Near-fine condition. Scarce.