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JAMES, Henry.

The Ambassadors.

New York & London, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1903 Stock Code: 136586

In the cloth dust jacket

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First US edition, first printing. Edel and Laurence note that this edition of The Ambassadors was "marked by a curious error which remained unobserved until attention to it was drawn by Robert E. Young in the November 1950 issue of American Literature"; that is that Chapters XXVIII and XXIX had been reversed by some conscientious editor at Harper's with an eye peeled for the chronological inaccuracy seemingly presented by James's arrangement, which places a chapter set during an evening before one set during the preceding afternoon. This was in part due to the fact that the American edition was set up from a separate set of proofs of the serialization in the North American Review, with approximately three and a half additional chapters which James had withheld to be inserted into the book. Edel notes that the error was confined to the American edition and relates that it "was perpetuated in the New York Edition, Scribner having set type from the American edition". Though James paid close attention to the revision of his earlier works in the New York Edition, several of the later works, such as this, were virtually ignored. James had hoped to set the English edition from the American proofs but, fortunately, as it turns out, Harper's took too long to supply these; James instead sent to Methuen a compilation of tear-sheets from the Review and carbon copy pages of text.

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Octavo. Original blue paper-covered boards, spine lettered and ruled in gilt, top edge gilt, others untrimmed. With the publisher's blue cloth dust jacket, spine identically lettered and ruled in gilt.


Title page printed in orange and black.


Contemporary ownership inscription of Agnes Carpenter to front free endpaper. Bookplate of Virginia bibliophile Christopher Clark Geest to front pastedown. Closed tear to lower margin of pp. 39-40 and 313-4. Spine minimally cocked, negligible rubbing to board edges, tiny worm hole to front joint; a very good copy indeed in the jacket with a couple of marks to cloth, slight rubbing to extremities.


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