Philadelphia: David McKay, 1919. Smith, Jessie Willcox. First Edition. Hardcover. First edition, first printing (second issue) with Jessie Willcox Smith illustrations, large octavo size, 342 pp., in original publisher's dust jacket. Near fine / very good. Item #20080805
Scottish author and minister George MacDonald (1824-1905) wrote about diverse subjects, from fantasy to fairy tales to Christian apologetics; his work was massively influential to writers such as G. K. Chesterton, Neil Gaiman, Madeleine L'Engle, and, most notably, C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.
This book, "At the Back of the North Wind" is a fantasy story centered on a young boy, "Diamond", and his friendship with the North Wind, depicted as a beautiful lady who at times does what seem to be terrible deeds, but with good results.
Originally published in serial form in the children's magazine "Good Words for the Young" and in book form in 1871, this is the first edition with Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935) illustrations. Smith started her art career with assistance by Howard Pyle, an artist and the founder of the Howard Pyle School of Illustration Art; many of his students came to be known as members of the Brandywine School. Smith became known for her lovely illustrations of mothers, babies and children, receiving numerous awards for her work including a Silver Metal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full beige cloth over boards, pictorial pastedown on the front board, front board with a blue border and blue lettering, spine with blue lettering, top edge gilt, pictorial endpapers, pictorial title page, eight full-page colour illustrations throughout; large octavo size (9.5" by 7"), pagination: [1-8] 9-342. Original publisher's dust jacket is unclipped (although with no printed price), illustration on the front that placed opposite p. 14 in the book ("Against this he laid his ear..."), black ruled border and lettering on front and spine, rear panel and both flaps blank.
___CONDITION: Volume near fine, with clean boards (other than a few, very light stray marks), the pastedown with a few spots of exceedingly minor wear at the edges, straight corners without rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, collated complete, and entirely free of prior owner markings; a couple of guttars just beginning to crack but the text block remains strong and sturdy, light offsetting to pp. 130-131 (apparently from something having been laid in at some point). Dust jacket very good, it is unclipped (no printed price), mostly clean with overall light dustiness, the illustration on the front panel with one light mark at the bottom (approximately one and a half-inches), overall edgewear most noticeable at the head and tail of the spine and the corners, with several small chips but no loss of text, a couple of closed tears at the tail at the joint. Overall a lovely example with the original dust jacket.
___CITATION: Nudelman A 53, the second issue of the first printing.
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