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STEVENSON, Robert Louis, & Lloyd Osbourne.

The Ebb-Tide. A Trio and Quartette.

London : 1894 Stock Code: 27986
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First edition, first issue (the cloth is indicative). This is the only recorded copy of the first edition known to have survived in dust jacket. In this period the dust jacket, as its name implies, was intended to keep the book clean from the dust and soil of commerce. The outer paper jacket was designed to be discarded at the point of sale, to reveal the more elaborate design work lavished on the case-binding beneath. As this example shows, publishers tended to use the panels of the jacket to advertise other books, leaving only the spine panel for the title, the author's name, and the price. The publisher's blurb, singing the book's praises, was as yet unborn, and colour-printed jackets would not appear for more than two decades. Surviving examples of dust jackets from the nineteenth century are freaks and much sought after by collectors and book historians.
The second of two novels with South Seas settings written in collaboration with his stepson, The Ebb-Tide "had its origins in a much longer novel, The Pearl Fisher, planned in 1889; it is a grim and powerful story of moral depravity and evil whose four main characters Stevenson himself called 'such a troop of swine' (Letters, 8.107). There are parallels between The Ebb-Tide and 'The Beach of Falesá', regarded as one of his finest short stories" (ODNB).

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Octavo. Original dull gold pebble-grained cloth, pictorial decoration and titles to front board and spine in black. Housed in a terracotta solander box by the Chelsea Bindery.


Mild toning to endpapers, spine very slightly cocked and with a trace of rub at the tips, a lovely copy in the exceptionally scarce printed dust jacket, with some minor loss at the ends of the spine panel, rather tanned and a little marked.


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