New York: Frederick A. Stokes, . Single volume, measuring 7.25 x 5 inches: , 261, . Contemporary three-quarter brown morocco over brown cloth boards; raised bands; spine compartments lettered, ruled, and decorated in gilt; boards ruled in gilt; top edge gilt; marbled endpapers. London bookseller ticket (B.F. Stevens & Brown) to title page. Ink presentation inscription, dated August 1905, from Horace Fletcher to Henry James on half-title. Light shelfwear to binding.
Early edition of this inspirational self-help treatise by American health faddist Horace Fletcher, known as “The Great Masticator” for his insistence on chewing every bite of solid food to liquid before swallowing. This copy is warmly inscribed by Fletcher to his recent convert, the novelist Henry James: “To the most subtle and elevating influence in contemporary literature / Henry James / all happiness always / is the devout wish of / Horace Fletcher / Palazzo Saibante / Canal Grande / Venice / August 1905.” Henry James and his brother, the philosopher William James, were both enthusiastic “Fletcherizers” for a time, along with Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, John D. Rockefeller, and even Franz Kafka. Happiness as Found in Forethought Minus Fearthought, originally published in 1897, predates Fletcher’s celebrity as “the chew-chew man.” The book advocates a relentless model of positive thinking that pulverizes all obstacles to happiness. “All time – all eternity – is made up of a succession of nows. If you are free in the present now, you may more easily be free from temptation in the succeeding nows until emancipation shall be complete and the very atmosphere of your freedom shall exorcise all evil before it can come near enough to attract your consciousness.” Henry James would eventually abandon the dietary practice of Fletcherizing in 1910, blaming the liquid diet for his chronic digestive ailments and general low spirits. A notable association copy, and an intriguing artifact of mainstream American quackery, handsomely bound by Riviere & Son.