Hartford: The American Publishing Company, 1897. Beard, Dan et al. First Edition. Hardcover. First printing, octavo size, 712 pp. Very good +. Item #19060102
Samuel L. Clemens, better known to the world as "Mark Twain" (1835-1910) created some of the best-loved characters of American fiction, including Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. In addition to his many works of fiction, he also was prolific at other types of writing, including the "travelogue".
"Following the Equator" (the American title) or "More Tramps Abroad" (the British title) is one such travelogue, published by Mark Twain in 1897. Twain was practically bankrupt in 1894 due to a failed investment into a "revolutionary" typesetting machine; in an attempt to extricate himself from a debt of roughly $100,000 (equivalent to about $2.5 million today) he undertook a tour of the British Empire in 1895, a route chosen to provide numerous opportunities for lectures in the English language. In this book, Twain criticizes racism, imperialism, and missionary zeal in observations woven into the narrative with classical Twain wit. In keeping with that wit, and Twain's love of a tall tale, Twain included a number of fictional stories in the body of what is otherwise a non-fiction work.
In his own inimitable style, the quote beneath the frontispiece (a picture of Twain obviously onboard a ship) reads "Be good & you will be lonesome." The volume is replete with black-and-white photographs and illustrations (almost 200) by various artists, including Dan Beard, A.B. Frost, and others (the list of Illustrations found on p. 19 has the complete list).
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full navy blue cloth, a rectangular box on the front board stamped in gold, blue and grey, with an illustration of an elephant, the spine stamped with gold lettering and decorations, frontispiece a photograph of Twain as referred to above, title page with a small decoration of a palm tree in green, ruled borders in light green, replete with almost 200 photographic reproductions and illustrations; octavo size (just over 9" by 6.25"), pagination: [1-6] 7-712.
___CONDITION: Better than very good, with covers mostly clean, straight corners, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean, and the only prior owner marking being a pencilled name and date ("Geo. Darley / Christmas 1897"), the date being the year of publication. A few spots of light soiling to the boards, the paper illustration of the elephant lightly rubbed and with a few marks of soiling, a few marks of light soil to the endpapers, the frontis and title page toned, and the tissue guard over the frontispiece foxed; note that a professional re-tipped in the frontispiece (which was published tipped-in) and strengthened the hinges (name available upon request).
___CITATIONS: BAL 3451, Johnson p. 65; first issue points all present, including only one imprint on the title page ("The American Publishing Company") and dates on title and copyright pages matching. Note that p. 161 does have the signature "11", however, per the BAL, priority (with or without such mark) has not been established.
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