Washington Square. The Pension Beaurepas. A Bundle of Letters
London: Macmillan, 1881. Two octavo volumes, measuring 7.5 x 5 inches: viii, 265, ; iv, 271, . Original red-brown cloth, double-rule border and panel stamped in black and blind to boards, spines lettered in gilt with gilt publisher’s devices and decorative rules at top and bottom stamped in black, yellow-coated endpapers, all edges untrimmed. Bookplates of James collector John M. Cameron in both volumes; newspaper photograph mounted to verso of half-title in Volume I. Penciled bookseller notes to lower pastedown of Volume I; lightest shelfwear to cloth. Housed in a custom chemise and slipcase by Rene Patron.
First English edition of Henry James’s moving New York story about a downcast heiress and an upstart suitor, successfully serialized on both sides of the Atlantic, and published in the United States in 1880: “Love demands certain things as a right; but Catherine had no sense of her rights; she had only a consciousness of immense and unexpected favors.” Washington Square appears here with two 1879 stories by James: “The Pension Beaurepas,” which first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, and “A Bundle of Letters,” which appeared in The Parisian. An early newspaper photograph of what appears to be the James family home on Washington Place has been pasted into Volume I; the residential block where James was born was demolished in 1900 to make way for a ten-story commercial building, the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire. This is the second impression of the first English edition of Washington Square, issued two months after the first impression, with pagination errors corrected, “Henry James, Jun.” printed on spines, and no publisher’s catalog in Volume II. Edel and Laurence A15b. A crisp near-fine copy.