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The Rainbow.
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The Rainbow.

Published: London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1915

Stock code: 95180

Price: £25,000

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First edition, first impression. Methuen published The Rainbow in September 1915, but quickly withdrew it from sale in the face of almost universally hostile reviews and impending prosecution. At Bow Street magistrates’ court on 13 November it was banned as obscene, with the result that half of the print run was destroyed. This is one of a handful of extant copies in the dust jacket. Methuen’s adoption of this groundbreaking style of jacket design began right at the time this book was in production, it closely resembles Conrad’s Victory and a number of the other titles in the series advertised on the flaps and rear panel of this dust jacket. The innovation of having special designs made for the dust jacket which were neither taken from an image in the book itself, nor simply the printing on paper of the binding brasses made for the cloth, but rather a unique addition to the whole of the book itself seem commonplace now but were revolutionary at the time. English book design changed that year and, notwithstanding the destruction of half its edition, the dust jacket on The Rainbow was a part of that change.

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Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine gilt and to upper board in blind. With the dust jacket. In a green cloth solander case. Minor bump at the top of the spine but a sparkling copy in the pictorial dust jacket with some small loss at the ends of the spine panel, two tips and with a little chip at the top edge of the front panel.

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