Poe’s Tales in the Rare Original Cloth
POE, EDGAR ALLAN. Tales
London: Wiley and Putnam, 1845
Original green cloth. Some foxing, minor wear. An excellent copy with the cloth in splendid condition.
FIRST EDITION, ENGLISH ISSUE with the cancel London title page. This is an excellent copy of one of the rarest forms of Poe’s Tales, issued in the original cloth from the American sheets with a London title page.
“Here … begins the detective story, with “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” and, primus inter pares, the character of the amateur detective who triumphs over the blundering police in “The Purloined Letter.” The earlier Tales of the Grotesque and the Arabesque contains a larger number of the Poe tales of horror, which are still the artistic standard for that school, but this volume adds “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Descent into the Maelstrom,” and “The Gold Bug” (Grolier/American).
Poe’s literary career reached its high point in 1845 with the publication of Tales (June) and The Raven and Other Poems (November). Tales included the detective stories Poe had perfected over the past few years as well as many of his tales of horror and suspense.
Poe revised the stories carefully for this volume, making it the standard text for many of his most famous tales. Poe valued the tale over the novel in part because a tale can be appreciated in its totality in a single sitting. In a review of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales, Poe wrote, “the tale proper, in my opinion, affords unquestionably the fairest field for the exercise of the loftiest talent, which can be afforded by the wide domains of mere prose.”
Ellery Queen described the volume as “the first important book of detective stories, the first and the greatest, the cornerstone of cornerstones in any readers’ or collectors’ guide, the highspot of highspots,” while bookseller A.S.W. Rosenbach called it “the greatest volume of short stories ever to appear from the hand of man.”