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JAMES, Henry.

The Novels and Tales.

Availability: In stock

Published: New York Charles Scribner's Sons, 1907-17

Stock Code: 126372

OR On display in 100 Fulham Road


First collected edition of Henry James's works, limited issue, number 138 of 156 numbered sets, printed on handmade paper. An unnumbered trade issue was also published simultaneously, with some of the sheets from the trade issue additionally issued in Britain. James contemplated a collected edition of his works as early as 1904, but discussions did not start until 1904. "The impetus for a collected edition of his works was driven on James's part by two important considerations. First it was a 'testamentary act', an 'edition definitive', one that would (by its exclusions as well as inclusions) ensure James's place as a master of fiction on the level of Balzac. But perhaps an equally important motive was financial. James, always insecure about his income, dependent as he was from the earnings of his pen, and aware of his declining sales (and inability to sell his longer works of fiction for serialization in magazines), hoped that substantial sales of a collected edition would provide for his old ages" (Supino, p. 397). James contributed 18 new prefaces to the set and revised his novels for the edition. However, the public reaction was unenthusiastic, the print runs were scaled back mid-edition, and the limited royalties James received did not repay the effort he put into the project, and dented his confidence. James wrote to a friend "that edition has been, from the point of view of profit either to the publisher or to myself, practically a complete failure... I remain at my age... after my long career, utterly insurmountably, unsaleable" (ibid, p. 400). Nonetheless, the set is highly desirable, attractively printed on good-quality paper, and here handsomely bound. The first 24 volumes were published from 1907 to 1909, with the final two volumes added posthumously in 1917.

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26 volumes, octavo (231 x 153 mm). Attractively bound in recent brown morocco, red and green morocco labels, centre tool to spines gilt separated by raised bands, roll to boards gilt, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, others untrimmed.


Photogravure frontispieces by Alvin Langdon Coburn in volumes XX-XXIV.


An excellent set.


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