New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 13 Astor Place, 1886 [but 1888?]. First Edition. Original Cloth. First Printing (see discussion following) of the first English-language translation (preceding the British edition) of Tolstoy's masterwork (Thomas Mann called it "without equal in European literature"). Translated by Nathan Haskell Dole. Crown 8vo (190 x 120mm): ,viii,5-773,pp. Publisher's pebbled midnight blue cloth (also issued in green and brown cloth, with no known priority), spine and upper cover ruled and stamped in gilt with House of Romanov seal, green floral end papers, top edge stained navy blue, elaborate Crowell monogram to title page. Neat Christmas inscription, dated 1888, to first blank. A superb survival, tightly bound in original cloth (narrow streak of faded color on back board) and clean throughout (lower outer corner of title page improperly trimmed). Line 39. Fine. Item #BB2805
Originally serialized in Russian over a five-year period in Ruskii Vestnik, beginning in 1873, then published in three volumes, comprising eight parts, in 1875. Distinguishing among the various issues of the first printing of this first English-language edition is fraught: there is no definitive bibliography of Tolstoy's works in English translation nor of Thomas Y. Crowell publications from this period, and Line offers little assistance beyond noting the pagination. Some booksellers and auction houses claim copies with no list of Tolstoy's works opposite the title page and five pages of advertisements for Crowell's novels in translation with no Russian works listed are the earliest issue. Our copy exhibits many, but not all, of the generally accepted first issue points: "In Eight Parts translated by Nathan Haskell Dole" on title page, floral end pages, publisher's device on title page, glossary of Russian-to-English words at rear, Romanov eagle insignia on front cover, but with four (not five) pages of of advertisements for Crowell's novels in translation (including Tolstoy's) at rear and list of seventeen works by Tolstoy opposite the title page, five of which (Life, The Long Exile and Other Stories for Children, Sevastopol, Power and Liberty, and Napoleon's Russian Campaign) first appeared as late as 1888, seeming to confirm that date as the year our copy was issued. "Arriving midway between Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1857) and Fontane's Effi Briest (1895), [Anna Karénina] stands as perhaps the most prominent nineteenth-century European novel of adultery . . . just as War and Peace ranks as the supreme historical novel, Anna Karénina represents the aggrandisement of the society tale (common in mid-nineteenth-century Russian fiction) into the grand contemporary family chronicle." (Literary Encyclopedia) N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, with dust jackets carefully preserved in archival, removable mylar sleeves. 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.).