FIRST EDITION OF TWAIN'S THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER, FIRST ISSUE, IN STATE "A" BINDING, A BEAUTIFUL COPY
TWAIN, Mark. The Prince and the Pauper, A Tale for Young People of All Ages. Boston: James R. Osgood, 1882. Octavo, original black- and gilt-stamped green cloth. Housed in a custom half morocco chemise. $4200.
First American edition, first issue, second state, of "the best book for young folks that was ever written," (Harriet Beecher Stowe), in first-state binding.
Thought by his family and many of his friends to be his best work, The Prince and the Pauper represented a risky departure for Twain in his attempt to write a serious and thoughtful adventure story for children. He considered publishing the book anonymously, as he feared that his reputation as a humorist would hurt its chances with the public, but finally decided to put his name to it, "and let it help me or hurt me as the fates shall direct." "The Prince and the Pauper was to be an act of culture. He had no hesitation, as he had had with Tom Sawyer, over whether this was a book for children or for grownups. From the very start he knew that he was writing for children" (Kaplan, 238, 248). According to Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe once told him, "I am reading your Prince and the Pauper for the fourth time… And I know it is the best book for young folks that was ever written" (Kaplan, 240). First issue, second state, with Franklin Press imprint on copyright page and "estate" changed to "state" on page 124, line 1. Binding state A, with top center rosette on spine 1/8 inch below fillet. BAL 3402. Johnson, 39-41. MacDonnell, 44-45. McBride, 70.
Only a couple small spots of soiling to generally fine interior, slight rubbing to spine, gilt quite bright. A beautiful, near-fine copy.