The Troll Garden.New York, McClure, Phillips & Co., 1905 Stock Code: 131568
NotesFirst edition, first printing. Presentation copy of the author's first prose work, warmly inscribed by the author to the American illustrator and writer Howard Pyle, "Will Mr. Howard Pyle accept through me the love of seven big and little children to whom he taught the beauty of language and of line, and to whom, in a desert place, he sent the precious message of Romance. Willa Sibert Cather, April 26, 1906", with Pyle's illustrated bookplate on the front pastedown. The "seven big and little children" referred to by Cather were herself, her five siblings, and their live-in cousin. The "desert place" refers to Nebraska, where the family moved in 1883, and the "precious message of Romance" was provided by Howard Pyle's works such as The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, published in that year, and Otto of the Silver Hand (1888) of which Cather was notably fond (Harris). Pyle was an evident influence on Cather's own work, and in a January 1897 Home Monthly article Cather described Pyle's works as "some of the best juvenile books published", noting that Pyle "is as careful and painstaking and artistic with his children's books as the very best novelists are with their novels". This work was presented during the short period in 1906 that both Cather and Pyle were employed at McClure's Magazine; Cather starting as managing editor in early April, and Pyle as art editor just prior. Although Pyle resigned his position on 10 August "Cather must have been thrilled to meet the man whose works had contributed so much to her childhood world of play", as evidenced by her grateful inscription in this, her first published prose work. Inscribed copies of this work are notably uncommon, with just seven other examples traced at auction.
Octavo. Original red vertical grain cloth, spine and front cover lettered in gilt, front cover decorated in blind, fore and bottom edges untrimmed, a couple gatherings unopened. With the supplied dust jacket. Housed in a red morocco-backed folding case.
With the bookplate of collector Frederick Baldwin Adams Jr. to the front free endpaper verso. Minor rubbing to spine ends and tips, edge of front pastedown scraped, inner front hinge cracked but firm, gauze visible at half-title gutter; else a near-fine copy in the soiled supplied jacket with chips to spine ends and tips, a couple of scruffs and closed tears.
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