by La Motte-Fouque, Friedrich, Baron de [Heinrich Karl, Freiherr de, 1777-1843]
Leipzig / New York: Wm. Radde. Very Good. 1863. Paperback. 88 & 8 [ads] pages; Publisher's yellow wrappers, printed in black. The front wrapper states the imprint as "Leipzig, 1863. / In Commission bei Wm. Radde, 300 Broadway, / New York." The title page has only the imprint "New York / In Commission bei Wm. Radde, 300 Broadway," [Date on wrapper only, not on title page]. The 8 pages of ads at the rear list titles available from Wm. Radde in New York, mostly in German, but a few in English (translations of German texts). Although most of his texts in wrappers were priced at 12 or 13 cents, Fouque's Undine is listed at the foot of page 3 (called a "hoechst interessante Erzaehlung") The publisher's price notes the advantage of purchasing from Radde's in New York compared with the going rate in Germany: "Preis in Deutschland 75 c[en]ts. 25 c[en]ts." An early, but certainly not the first New York edition of La Motte-Fouque's masterpiece. [The American Antiquarian Society has a copy of an edition in German published by Radde dated 1846]. The original text was published in 1811, and it was quickly popular all over the world, in German and also various translations. As an example of the extent to which it permeated the consciousness of readers throughout the nineteenth century, it is interesting to note that Louisa May Alcott in 'Little Women' has Jo (the reader) grumbling about Christmas presents at the beginning of the book: " We've each got a dollar, and the army wouldn't be much helped by our giving that. I agree not to expect anything from mother or you, but I do want to buy Undine and Sintram for myself; I've wanted it so long, said Jo, who was a reader." [Spoiler alert: she gets her wish, later in 'Little Women']. The delicate original wrappers of this scarce Civil-War era paperback are intact, but there is light soiling, the spine, with printed title: "Undine," has lost paper at the top and bottom of the spine, and has a few small breaks at the center, with tiny areas of loss. Text sewing is tight and there are no marks, but there is a faint water-stain to the lower corners of the first and last leaves. Our price is one hundred times the 1863 published price; another datum in favor of the "buy and hold" strategy for investment in books. . (Inventory #: 38599)
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