A Laodicean; or, The Castle of the De Stancys. A Story of Today. Thomas Hardy, Bernhard Tauchnitz.
A Laodicean; or, The Castle of the De Stancys. A Story of Today
A Laodicean; or, The Castle of the De Stancys. A Story of Today
A Laodicean; or, The Castle of the De Stancys. A Story of Today
A Laodicean; or, The Castle of the De Stancys. A Story of Today
A Laodicean; or, The Castle of the De Stancys. A Story of Today
A Laodicean; or, The Castle of the De Stancys. A Story of Today
A Laodicean; or, The Castle of the De Stancys. A Story of Today

A Laodicean; or, The Castle of the De Stancys. A Story of Today

London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1881. Three octavo volumes, measuring 7.5 x 5 inches: [4], 312; [4], 275, [1]; [4], 269, [1]. Original grey fine-ribbed cloth stamped in blind with publisher’s monogram to boards, spines lettered in gilt, ivory endpapers, top edges stained grey. Bookplates of Arthur B. Spingarn, E.E. Taylor, and Carroll Atwood Wilson in each volume. Laid into Volume I are the following: two-page ALS of Thomas Hardy to Bernhard Tauchnitz, dated January 16, 1882; two notes in the hand of Frederick Adams Baldwin, Jr., which read as follows: “Letter to Bernhard Tauchnitz, who subsequently paid £60 to publish Laodicean later in 1882;” “Although the three volumes lack his bookplate, this is the George Barr McCutcheon copy.” Light streaking to spine of Volume I, light shelfwear to cloth, a few signatures browned. Each volume housed in a custom chemise with the bookplate of Frederick Baldwin Adams, Jr., designed by Rockwell Kent, and a custom slipcase. Slipcases worn.

First English edition of Thomas Hardy’s novel of an ambivalent railway heiress torn between two men: the forward-looking architect she hires to renovate her recently acquired English castle, and a descendant of that castle’s ancient family, whose old world glamor appeals to her. “It is very dreadful to be denounced as a barbarian. I want to be romantic and historical.” Unlike Hardy’s Wessex novels, A Laodicean is “a story of today,” featuring marvels of modern engineering like telegraphy and photography. Serialized in both the United States and England, the American edition appeared in late November 1881, followed by this triple-decker English edition a few weeks later: this edition represents Hardy’s final edits to the text. Laid into this copy is a January 1882 letter from Hardy to Continental publisher Bernhard Tauchnitz, sending him A Laodicean for his consideration: “The publication of ‘A Laodicean’ was, for convenience, postponed two or three weeks from the time originally fixed. I now send you the proof sheets . . . that you may form an estimate of what the story is worth to you.” According to a note laid in by former owner Frederick Baldwin Adams, Jr., Tauchnitz subsequently paid £60 for the rights. Other former owners of this copy include Brewster’s Millions author George Barr McCutcheon (1866-1928); civil rights leader Arthur B. Spingarn (1878-1971); and book collectors E.E. Taylor and Carroll Atwood Wilson. Adams himself served as the director of the Morgan Library, the president of the New-York Historical Society, and the president of the Grolier Club. This copy sold at the Sotheby’s auction of Adams’s remarkable Hardy collection in November 2001. Purdy, 36-37; Sadleir 1109. A very good copy, with an accompanying artifact of the novel’s European publication, and excellent literary provenance.

Price: $12,500.00