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Twice-Told Tales


Boston: American Stationers, 1837

Original dark brown cloth. Joints and spine ends expertly restored. Minor foxing and cleaner than usual. A very handsome copy with the spine gilt extremely bright. Black moroco case

FIRST EDITION of Hawthorne’s second published book, a classic of American literature. From the day of publication this collection of nineteen tales brought Hawthorne fame.

“Of Mr. Hawthorne’s Tales we would say emphatically, that they belong to the highest region of Art–an Art subservient to genius of a very lofty order … the style is purity itself. Force abounds. High imagination gleams from every page … We know of few compositions which the critic can more honestly commend than these ‘ Twice-Told Tales.’ As Americans, we feel proud of the book” (Edgar Allan Poe).

Hawthorne’s title, Twice-Told Tales, was based on a line from Shakespeare’s Life and Death of King John: “Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale, / Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.” The tales are “twice-told” because Hawthorne had published them individually in magazines and annuals before collecting them in this, his first published book.

“To this little work we would say,‘Live ever, sweet, sweet book.’ It comes from the hand of a man of genius. Everything about it has the freshness of morning and of May … these tales are national in their character … exciting beauty of his style, as clearasrunningwatersare”(H.W.Longfellow).

An excellent provenance: 1. E. A. Crowninshield, bookplate, his sale Puttick & Simpson, July 1860; 2. Richard Manney, bookplate, his sale Sotheby’s, New York, 11 October 1991, lot 166 .

Grolier 100 American Books 44.