Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1860. First Edition thus. Vellum. First Tauchnitz Edition (Todd & Bowden's fourth setting, impression Db), "copyright edition" on title page, of Hawthorne's Italian romance cum travel guide. Two volumes in one, thick foolscap 8vo (155 x 107mm): xii,292; vi,280,pp, with 24 mounted period photographs of Roman monuments, statuary, buildings, and street scenes. Contemporary vellum, spine decorated and titled ("The Marble Faun") in gilt, upper cover paneled and titled ("Roma") in gilt, marbled end papers, edges stained red. Tightly bound and clean throughout, a virtually pristine example, aside from slight waviness to margins of inserted leaves with photographs, which are printed on heavy coated stock. (The photographs were sold to the tourist trade and inserted by Italian binders into copies, most, as here, with half-titles removed.) Todd & Bowden 515Db & 516Db. Clark A23.4. BAL 7620 and 7621 (for first editions). Grolier Hawthorne 32 (for discussion of London and Boston titles). Fine. Item #BB2253
Originally published in 1860, in London (as Transformation: or, The Romance of Mount Beni) and in Boston (as The Marble Faun). Written on the eve of the American Civil War, the novel is set in a fantastical Italy, combining elements of fable, pastoral, gothic romance, and travel guide. Hawthorne supposedly was inspired to write it when he saw the Faun of Praxiteles (in our copy, the frontispiece to volume 1) in the Palazzo Nuovo of the Capitoline Museum in Rome, and he included extended descriptions of art and architecture as backdrop to the tale of mystery, murder, and romance. Thus, it became customary for nineteenth-century travelers to Rome and Florence to use the book as a guide, rebound (often in elaborately decorated vellum, as here) and extra-illustrated with tipped-in photographs of the scenes Hawthorne described. A profusion of elaborate formats in special and bespoke bindings embellished with widely varying numbers of photographs exist, and thus few copies are identical. ("The absence, presence, or sequence of inserted photographs has no significance in determining textual priority," according to Clark.) Further complicating matters is the confusion created by the Tauchnitz practice of preserving the 1860 title page unchanged through "at least four editions and an untold number of printings extending well into the twentieth century. Four settings of type have been identified . . . more may exist." (Clark) N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).