Columbia & London: University of Missouri Press, 1978. Quarto, original pictorial blue and grey cloth, pale grey spine lettered in gilt, pale blue endpapers, top edge and foreedge stained blue. Original manuscript by Charlotte Brontë photomechanically reproduced; black and white illustrations by Charlotte Brontë, Branwell Brontë, and Elizabeth Gaskell. Signed in ink by the editor on the colophon. Housed in original pictorial slipcase.
Handsome critical edition of two of Charlotte Brontë’s early stories, one of 300 copies signed by editor William Holtz. Holtz offers a facsimile of Brontë’s 1833 manuscript of “The Secret” and “Lily Hart,” penned in her miniscule teenage hand, as well as a printed transcription and commentary. Inspired by a gift of twelve wooden toy soldiers from their father, the four Brontë children built an elaborate imaginative world around “the Twelves,” set in the fictional kingdom of Glass Town. These stories both deal with romantic intrigue between characters in that world: the Marquis of Douro and Marian Hume in the first, Prince John of Fidena and Lily Hart in the second. The themes of mistaken identity, concealed wives, and imperious husbands will come as no surprise to readers of Jane Eyre: “the mystery of their clandestine marriage still remained unsolved. She did not yet properly know who her husband was; she had never seen one member of his family or even heard him mention them.” A fine copy.