by Twain, Mark
1883. [first issue, and gilt-edged] With More Than 300 Illustrations. Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1883. Original brown cloth pictorially decorated in black and gilt, all edges gilt. First American Edition, published five days after Chatto & Windus's London edition. LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI is really two books combined. The first twenty-one chapters are his early impressions of the great river..., written [and serialized] in 1875 [and] here reprinted, with the balance of the book, chapter twenty-two to the end, being his [new] story of his trip down the river as an honored guest [Johnson]. This copy is of the first issue (which in our experience is less common than the second): the illustration of "Twain in flames" is present at the end of his discourse on cremation on p. 441 (it is absent in later copies, because Twain's wife objected to the illustration!); and the incorrect caption "The St. Louis Hotel" (rather than the proper "The St. Charles Hotel") appears on p. 443. Furthermore this copy is in the preferred binding state, with all edges of the leaves gilded: as the title page indicates, this book was "sold by subscription only" -- and not many subscribers chose this extra-cost option. In our experience, only about one of every twenty copies encountered has gilt page edges. This is an unusually bright copy, with scarcely any of the usual erosion of the binding gilt. It is in just-about-fine condition (just a hint of wear at the spine ends). Blanck 3411; Johnson pp 41-43.
(Inventory #: 14449)