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JAMES, Henry.

The Madonna of the Future and other tales.

In two volumes.

London: Macmillan and Co., 1879 Stock Code: 132087
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Presentation to the elegantly coiffed Mrs Lombard

First edition, presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the vol. I half-title, "Mrs. Lombard, from her old friend, H. James, Paris. Nov. 3d 1879". The Lombards were from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and friends of the James family. Mrs Lombard (born Harriet H Jones, 1821-1884) often travelled in Europe with her daughters Fanny (Frances, 1840-1914) and Essie (Esther, 1845-1912). "Mrs. Lombard was a chronic invalid who was always admirably coiffed, a detail which Henry introduced into his tales in describing certain itinerant American ladies abroad" (Edel, Life, II, p. 163). The presentation is an appropriate gift, as the title story is set in Florence, where the Lombards usually stayed when in Europe.

The book was published in October 1879 in an edition of 500 copies. These six stories had previously been published in America, in Scribner's, Harper's and the Galaxy, and three in a book publication, and were gathered together here for the first time and revised throughout. James was back in Paris for a short visit in the autumn of 1879; when revising his works for the New York Edition, he remembers the small shabby salon of the hôtel garni not far from the rue de la Paix, where he was writing A Bundle of Letters while a snowstorm raged outside with a violence rare in Paris.

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2 volumes, crown octavo. Publisher's dark blue fine-bead-grain cloth, double-rule border and curved-edge panel in black on front covers and in blind on back covers, lettering and publisher's device in gilt and decorative rules at top and bottom in black on spines; brown coated endpapers, all edges untrimmed. Housed in a blue morocco-backed slipcase and two chemises.


Provenance: bookplate of B. George Ulizio (1889-1969); leather book label of E. H. Mills; sold at auction, Christie's New York, 7 Feb. 1986, lot 91. Some light spotting in vol. I, a very good copy.


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