Hardy, Thomas (Henry Macbeth-Raeburn, illus.)
- Jude the Obscure The Wessex Novels Volume VIII
Osgood, McIlvane and Company, London, 1896.
First edition. Octavo; hardcover, with gilt spine titles and upper board decoration; 515pp., untrimmed and top edge gilt, with an engraved frontispiece. Moderate wear; binding professionally tightened; somewhat rolled; small stain to the text block top edge; text block edges toned offset to the endpapers; previous owner's name stamp to front pastedown; scattered foxing to preliminaries. Very good . Published as Vol. VIII in Osgood's 'Wessex Novels', the first uniform and complete edition of Hardy's works which had commenced publication the year before. 'The edition is an important one. The text of every novel was thoroughly and carefully revised, the topography (names and distances) corrected where necessary, chapters frequently retitled, and much rewriting done. In addition Hardy prepared a special preface for each volume' (Richard L. Purdy: Thomas Hardy: A Bibliographical Study, p.281). Each of the sixteen volumes has an etched frontispiece by Macbeth-Raeburn depicting a scene from the novel drawn "on the spot" (in this case Christminster) and a map of Wessex drawn by Hardy himself. Copies of this work exist in a "mixed state", a decision having been made after initial production to drop the page number from the last page of each chapter; thus, the signatures within the book vary according to format. In this copy, the last page of each chapters is not numbered in gatherings A through D, but are so numbered in gatherings E through H, K, S, 2F and partially in 2H. In most copies, as here, the signatures vary slightly, presumably as later sheets were gradually altered to conform to the latter part of the book (ref: Purdy).
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