EXCEPTIONAL FIRST AMERICAN EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, OF MARK TWAIN'S POWERFUL ARGUMENT FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS, A DOG'S LIFE, INSCRIBED BY HIM
TWAIN, Mark. A Dog's Tale. New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1904. Octavo, original pictorial red cloth. $8200.
First American edition, presentation copy, of Twain’s “powerful indictment of cruelty to animals,” inscribed in the year of publication: "With the Kindest regards of The Author. October 25/04."
"My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian." So begins Mark Twain's short story, both sentimental and polemical, about animal welfare. "First published in the Christmas issue of Harper's Monthly Magazine (December 1903), A Dog's Tale… was written largely to please daughter Jean, who had been outspoken in support of anti-vivisectionist causes… Written in the tradition of Aesop's fables, A Dog's Tale… remains a powerful indictment of cruelty to animals," as well as a scathing attack on such targets as misleading language, the institution of slavery and science exercised without compassion (LeMaster & Wilson, 223-24). It is also "a tribute to Mark Twain's mother, who—like the narrator's mother—reputedly sent Mark Twain into the world with an oath to behave properly" (Rasmussen, 113-14). The British National Anti-Vivsectionist Society originally distributed the first English/first separate edition as pamphlet, in London in early 1904. It was "apparently printed from the plates of Harper's Magazine" (BAL 3479), where it was first published. Harper & Brothers published the first (separate) American edition in September of that year (BAL 3483). It features four color plates by W.T. Smedley (three of these illustrations also appeared in the first English edition). The story is included in The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories (1906). Scarce dust jacket rear flap laid in. Johnson, 78-79. Merron 245. McBride, 216. BAL3483. Laid-in bookplate of dry goods magnate Henry Louis Batterman, Jr. Glue residue from bookplate above inscription.
Only a few spots of foxing to interior, cloth quite bright with only slightest toning to extremities and light rubbing to spine. A handsome, near-fine copy, most scarce and desirable inscribed by Twain.