New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1881. Church, Frederick S. and Moser, James H. First Edition. Hardcover. First printing, duodecimo size, 241 pp. Very good +. Item #CNJWEM052
The stories told by Joel Chandler Harris' (1848-1908) character Uncle Remus feature the popular Brer Rabbit from African-American folklore, a trickster character who lives by his wits; the book contains thirty-four stories, as well as songs and chants, and sketches about Uncle Remus under the section "His Sayings".
The work "has been frequently censured for perpetuating African American stereotypes and for [Harris'] apparently nostalgic version of the antebellum South. . .'Uncle Remus' has been translated into over twenty-five languages and remains in print, but the uneasy role of race in the stories has perhaps discouraged post-Second World War adaptations and retellings, with Enid Blyton's versions in the 1950s a notable exception" (Loker). It still remains an important work in the canon of children's literature, and should be viewed as a period piece upon which dialogue can be built.
This volume is filled with charming drawings of allegorical animals, by two men well-known in their day. Frederick Stuart Church (1842-1924) had work featured regularly in several Harpers publications, such as "Harper's Weekly" and "Harper's Bazaar", as well as "Ladies' Home Journal" and "Century Magazine". James Henry Moser (1854-1913) was "known as one of the most prominent watercolor artists of his day"; a painter, art critic and illustrator, he worked for many newspapers and periodicals, including the "Atlantic Monthly". He also taught at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Columbian University (now George Washington University) (n.b., info on Moser and the quote from the web site of the Fine Art Database).
___DESCRIPTION: Full blue cloth, illustration in gilt with decorations in black on the front board, gilt lettering and small illustration on the spine, blind-debossed double-ruled border on the back board, endpapers with all-over floral pattern in grey, frontispiece a black-and-white illustration captioned "Uncle Remus and his deceitful jug.", title page with black-and-white illustration of Uncle Remus, black-and-white illustrations by Frederick S. Church and James H. Moser, some full-page and some in-text, throughout; duodecimo size (7.75" by 5.25"), pagination: [1-3] 4-231 [232-241].
___CONDITION: Almost near fine, with clean boards, the gilt on the front board bright, straight corners with minimal rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, and the volume entirely free of prior owner markings; lightly cocked, the interior mostly clean and bright, a few pages with some light spots of soil and a stray spot or two of foxing, prior professional restoration to both hinges (now strong and sturdy) and the head and tail of the spine, some very light soiling to the rear board, lightly cracked gutter at pages 120 and 121, but text block still strong. A better than very good first edition of this historic work.
___CITATION: BAL no. 7100; Blanck, pp. 56-57; Loker no. 45. First printing/issue, with no mention of this title in "New Books" at the rear and "presumptive" on p. 9.
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