1900 · New York
First edition, first issue and inscribed by the Pulitzer Prize–winning Hoosier author: a short novel about a mysterious French gambler in 18th-century Bath, Monsieur Beaucaire, who has a reputation for honesty. When he threatens to reveal the Duke of Winterset's cheating, he trades his silence for an introduction to the beautiful Lady Mary Carlisle; after many complications his true royal rank is eventually revealed.
Booth Tarkington (1869–1946) is one of just three writers to receive more than one Pulitzer Prize in fiction. Immensely prolific and popular, he was known for his quintessentially Midwestern fiction; Monsieur Beaucaire, set notably far from the American heartland, was his second published work.
This first edition was => inscribed by the author on the front flyleaf: "'And live men are jus' — names!' said M. Beaucaire. Booth Tarkington, Kennebunkport, Oct. 17, 1940." (Tarkington spent much of his later life in Kennebunkport, ME.)
The novel is => illustrated with six plates (including a frontispiece) by C.D. Williams, printed in violet with dark green frames and all having tissue guards. The other decorations in the book were designed by Charles Edwin Hooper.
Binding: Publisher's red cloth with gilt lettering and decoration to spine and front board; illustrated endpapers and top edge gilt. Housed in a chemise within quarter red morocco openback slipcase with five raised bands, gilt lettering and decoration to spine.
Wright, III, 5370; Merle Johnson, p. 489; Russo & Sullivan, pp. 6–9. Bound as above; corners slightly bumped, slipcase edges lightly rubbed. Very minor gutter crack at p. 44 and a more notable one at p. 62, without affecting strength of binding. Charmingly cased and signed by its celebrated author, a nice copy => attractive and smart. (Inventory #: 37920)