"ONE OF MARK TWAIN'S MOST IMPORTANT BOOKS": LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI, FIRST EDITION, FIRST STATE
TWAIN, Mark. Life on the Mississippi. Boston: James R. Osgood, 1883. Octavo, original gilt-stamped pictorial brown cloth. $4500.
First American edition, first state "intermediate A," with hundreds of illustrations, many by Edmund Henry Garrett.
During an 1872 visit to the Midwest, the author "was struck by the great diminution of steamboat traffic on the Ohio River and became anxious to document the steamboat era before it vanished altogether… [The resulting volume is] widely regarded as both one of Mark Twain's major works and a classic on the Mississippi itself. Its early chapters especially are unrivaled in evoking the excitement of their time… According to Howells, Mark Twain regarded Life on the Mississippi as his greatest book. His regard for it is attested to by the fact that it is the only book that he attempted to rewrite after publication" (Rasmussen, 283, 291-2). "One of Mark Twain's most important books… It usefully supplements [his] fictional works about the river and includes much else of value" (LeMaster & Wilson, 467). First state, intermediate A, with first state of tailpiece illustration on page 441, of Twain's head in flames (removed in later states at the request of Mrs. Clemens, who found it morbid); caption on page 443, reading "The St. Charles Hotel." BAL 3411. Johnson, 41-43. McBride, 84.
Interior fine, front inner paper hinge starting, cloth and gilt exceptionally bright and fine. An exceptionally beautiful copy in fine condition.