An Outcast of the Islands.
[Together with;] Free Rum on the Congo and What It Is Doing There.
First edition, first impression. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Mr. W. T. Hornaday with the Author’s most friendly regards. 22 March, 1896”. Hornaday (1854–1937) was an American zoologist and conservationist who is credited with the preservation of a number of species including the North American bison. He helped found the Smithsonian National Zoo and in 1896 was made the director of the New York Zoological Park. Hornaday was the author of ten books, and one of his earliest published works was Free Rum on the Congo and What It Is Doing There (1887), a copy of which accompanies the present item. His work subsequently appeared alongside Conrad’s in American literary magazines. How Hornaday and Conrad met is apparently unrecorded but their paths may have first crossed in Malaysia during the 1880s. The inscription is dated two days before Conrad’s wedding in London. The publication of the Outcast had been delayed owing to a fire which destroyed the printer’s stereo-plates, and the book came out on 4 March 1896. Conrad sent out the first copies on 10 March. Contemporary presentation copies of Conrad’s early novels are rare.
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2 works, octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine and top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. Housed in green quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery. Binding a little rubbed and marked, endpapers tanned. A very good copy.