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William Wilson

POE, EDGAR ALLAN. “William Wilson” in The Gift for 1840

Philadelphia: Carey & Hart, 1840 [1839]

Original deluxe calf with bright, ornate gilt-stamped decorations and vignettes. Some wear, foxing. This is the rarest publisher’s gift binding for The Gift for 1840.

FIRST EDITION. Contains the first printing of “William Wilson.”  This allegorical tale of the soul’s encounter with the spectre conscience is deeply autobiographical. William Wilson shares Poe’s birthday, and the setting for the story recalls elements from Poe’s childhood school days in England as well as his university days at Charlottesville.

This autobiographical tale of doubleness, which Robertson describes as “in my opinion the most profound expression of psychological introspection ever formulated,” holds important clues to Poe’s development as a child and young man.