The English and American literature collections constitute a major strength of Special Collections. Manuscripts, letters, first and variant editions, broadsides, prints and photographs are included.
Although representative works are present from earlier centuries, the English literature holdings are strongest for the century 1750 to 1850. Samuel Johnson's Plan of a Dictionary English Language (1747), James Johnson's The Scots Musical Museum (1787- 1803), being a presentation copy from Robert Burns, and Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto (1765) are but a few examples of the breadth and depth of these eighteenth-century collections. Romantic poetry and prose focuses on the works of Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Percy Bysshe Shelley, and works by important critics and essayists such as Leigh Hunt and William Hazlitt are also represented. Comprehensive collections of the work of Rudyard Kipling, John Galsworthy, the Hogarth Press and modern authors such as Aldous Huxley and George Orwell suggest the coverage for later periods of English literature.
English literary manuscripts include the manuscript diary of William Hazlitt sister, papers of the poet Elizabeth Jennings, numerous letters of John Galsworthy and Rudyard Kipling, and a particularly interesting group of letters and manuscripts of Christopher Grieve (Hugh MacDiarmid), the father of the Scottish Literary Renaissance, the only such group of papers in an institution outside Great Britain.
The depth of the American literature collections is impressive, with many of the most important works of major American literary figures being present in first and variant editions. James Fenimore Cooper's Precaution (1820) in original printed boards is in the collection. Nathaniel Hawthorne's Fanshawe (1828), in original boards, crowns a very complete Hawthorne collection. Every edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, first published in 1855 and then reissued at regular intervals, with revisions, until the author's death, is present. The works of Theodore Dreiser, William Faulkner, John O'Hara, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Melville, Howard Pyle, Carl Sandburg, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry David Thoreau, and a host of others are included in the collections. The American literary manuscript holdings include papers of John Malcolm Brinnin, Paul Bowles, Paul and Alice Dunbar, Donald Justice, Ishmael Reed, Gilbert Sorrentino, Louis Untermeyer, Kurt Vonnegut, Tennessee Williams, and the archives of Pagany, A Native Quarterly.
The library has been collecting Irish literature for only a relatively short period of time, but important collections have been developed, particularly for the period of the Irish Literary Renaissance. The publications of the Dun Emer Press and the Cuala Press comprise an area of concentration, together with major collections of Padraic Colum, Isabella Augusta Gregory, James Joyce, Sean O'Casey, George Bernard Shaw and John Millington Synge. The Irish literary manuscripts include extensive correspondence between William Butler Yeats and Shri Purohit Swami, numerous letters of George Bernard Shaw, the papers of Frank J. Hugh O'Donnell and Ulick O'Connor.
Alice D. Schreyer
Head, Special Collections
Nathaniel H. Puffer
Assistant Director of Libraries
for Collection Development
The Workes of Benjamin Jonson. London: Will Stansby, 1616.
Dramatist, poet, scholar and writer of court masques, Ben Jonson was the leading literary figure during the reign of King James I (1603-25). He was a close friend of Shakespeare, who acted in Jonson's Every Man in his Humour (1598) and whose company presented Jonson's tragedy Sejanus (1603). In 1616, the year this first edition of his collected works appeared, with an engraved title page by William Hole, Jonson received a pension from James I, making him the first poet laureate in the modern sense. This copy is inscribed on the flyleaf, "This copy was presented to me by my esteemed friend Palmer. D[avid] Garrick," and dated March 9, 1768.
Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. By Lemuel Gulliver. London: Benjamin Motte, 1726. 4 volurnes in 2.
Although it has achieved lasting fame as fiction, fable and children's book, Gulliver's Travels was a direct and bitter satire of the English court, political parties, religious dissensions, philosophies, men of science, historians and projectors of Swift's day. Swift, who was born in Dublin, served in England as secretary to Sir William Temple from 1689 to 1699 and returned to Ireland in 1714. He was involved in many political controversies, especially those relating to the treatment of the Irish by the English, and his satirical pamphlets were widely circulated, read, and influential. Alexander Pope and John Gay claimed that Gulliver's Travels was read "from the cabinet council to the nursery."
Gift in Memory of Albert N. Raub, President of Delaware College 1888-1896
The Plan of a Dictionary of the English Language; Addressed to the Right Honourable Philip Dormer, Earl of Chesterfield. London: J. and P. Knapton [etc.], 1747.
Publisher Robert Dodsley suggested to Johnson that a dictionary of the English language might be a successful venture and proposed the Earl of Chesterfield as a patron. Johnson addressed this thirty four page pamphlet to the Earl, who did little to support the effort.
Johnson's query, "Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern upon a man struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached ground encumbers him with help?" recalls the dependency of authors on patronage throughout the eighteenth century. This system only began to change with the rise of the periodical press that led to a profession of authorship, a transition in which Johnson was a major figure. Johnson embarked on his Plan alone, although what he had projected to be the work of three years required eight, and the Dictionary only appeared in 1755.
The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling. London: A. Millar, 1749. 6 volumes.
Fielding, a successful dramatist, lawyer and magistrate, created "comic epics in prose" that are generally considered the first modern novels in English. He considered his masters to be Lucian, Swift and Cervantes, and saw himself as "the founder of a new province of writing." Tom Jones, the first edition of which is shown here, was well received in its day, although some critics, including Samuel Johnson, disapproved of the hero's escapades before marriage.
Paradise Lost. Birmingham: John Baskerville, 1760.
For twenty years between the publication of Lycidas in 1637 and the composition of Paradise Lost John Milton wrote little poetry. He was involved in political activity and issued many pamphlets in defense of religious, civil and domestic liberties. John Baskerville (1706-75), who printed this edition of Milton's epic poem, transformed English and continental typography and printing at the end of the eighteenth century. Trained as a stonecutter, Baskerville made a fortune as a manufacturer of japanned ware before he turned to printing. He designed his own typeface, which shows his stonecutting training and interest in calligraphy, and set up a press where he trained workmen in his methods. These included "leading" or white spaces between lines; wide margins; making his own intense black ink; and hot-pressing or "calendaring" paper after printing. Together these methods created an open and elegant page appropriate to the grand scale and high purpose of Milton's poetry.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates
Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. London: J. Dodsley, 1765. 3 volumes.
Thomas Percy's interest in the literary antiquity of England had a lasting influence on later poetry. This influence can be seen in Coleridge's Ancient Mariner and it is openly avowed by Wordsworth in Lyrical Ballads. Percy's rediscovery of medieval English poetry also inspired poets of the Romantic revival in Germany. Percy, who became Bishop of Dromore in 1782, drew most of the ballads for Reliques from the Percy Folio, a seventeenth-century manuscript which he acquired from his friend Humphrey Pitt of Shifnal in Shropshire. The manuscript was saved from destruction by Percy when he discovered it "being used by the Maids to light the fire." The manuscript, now in the British Museum, is a collection of materials of all kinds, but most important for its preservation of ballad poetry. The other poems in Reliques were derived from more recent sources.
In addition to the literary and historical appeal of such ballads as "The Ballad of Chevy Chase," "Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne," and the King Arthur cycle, these volumes are also pleasing visually, as shown by the vignettes of the title pages and the frontispiece of the first volume, which depicts a harpist and his audience. Each of the three volumes is divided into three parts, and each part opens with a copperplate engraving illustrating a ballad. The illustrations were designed by Samuel Wale and engraved by Charles Grignian.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates
Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect. Kilmarnock: John Wilson, 1786.
Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, is also undoubtedly Scotland's greatest national cult hero. Burns' great appeal lies in his humble origins and hard "ploughman's" life, and in his rustic, unpretentious verse that is so characteristic of Scottish folk tradition. His great fame rests almost entirely on Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect.
After a break in his long relationship with Jean Armour, Burns decided to make a fresh start by emigrating to Jamaica. Burns' close friend, Gavin Hamilton, advised him to publish a volume of his poems to pay for his passage. The result was Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, published on July 31, 1786 in the town of Kilmarnock--a collection of thirty-six poems carefully selected to impress a sophisticated Edinburgh audience. His efforts went beyond his intentions, charming not only the Edinburgh critics, but also the Scottish rural folk, and every generation of Scot since. The ship left for Jamaica without him, and instead Burns journeyed straight to Edinburgh to meet the fortune reaped from his volume's great success.
This copy of the first edition is from the collection of Duncan McNaught, editor of the Burns Chronicle, and contains his signature in pencil on the back end paper.
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage; A Romaunt. London: John Murray, 1812.
With the appearance of Childe Harold, his second published work, Byron attained almost overnight fame. Only 500 copies of this first edition of the first two cantos were printed, and they sold within three days. The third canto appeared in 1816 and the fourth in 1818; first editions of both are also in the University of Delaware Library collection. Tipped into this copy is the signature of John Hobhouse, to whom the fourth canto is dedicated.
Byron's fame--or notoriety--was much more than a literary event. Childe Harold, which describes the travels, experiences and reflections of a melancholy, defiant outcast, inaugurated a "romanticism" so linked to the poet that it became and remains synonymous with Byronism. This blend of passion and style exerted an enormous influence on nineteenth-century literature, society and culture.
Gift in Memory of Albert N. Raub, President of Delaware College 1888-1896
Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems. London: Taylor and Hessey, 1820.
The first edition of Keats' second volume of poems, uncut and in the original boards with the paper label on the spine and eight pages of publisher's advertisements at the end. In addition to the title poems, the volume contains five odes, "Hyperion," and other works. "Lamia," written in 1819, is a narrative poem based on a story from Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy; "Isabella," composed in 1818, is a narrative poem based on a story in Boccaccio's Decameron. Charles Lamb pronounced "Isabella" to be the best work in the 1820 collection. Although it was well received by the critics, sales of Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems were slow. Several months after its publication, Keats left for Rome, where he died early the next year.
Queen Mab. London: W. Clark, 1821.
Queen Mab, a visionary and ideological poem in nine cantos, was written during Shelley's early period of political activism and published privately in 1813. The prose "Notes," some of which form substantial essays, show the influence of the revolutionary ideals of the 1790s. This copy has the rare leaf "To Harriet" at the end. Shelley had married Harriet Westbrook after they eloped together in 1811. He left her in 1814 to elope with Mary Godwin, and in 1816 Harriet drowned herself in the Serpentine.
Elia. Essays Which Have Appeared Under that Signature in the London Magazine. London: Taylor and Hessey, 1823.
First edition, first issue of the first series of Charles Lamb's miscellaneous essays, which had appeared in the London Magazine between 1820 and 1823. The pseudonym "Elia" was the name of a former Italian clerk at the South Sea House, where both Charles and his brother had worked. The essays, cast as if written by an old-fashioned narrator, include the famous "Dissertation on Roast Pig."
Memoirs of Samuel Pepys. . . Comprising His Diary from 1659 to 1669, deciphered by the Reverend John Smith . . . from the original short-hand manuscript in the Pepysian Library. Ed. by Richard, Lord Braybrooke. London: Henry Colburn, 1825. 2 volumes.
Samuel Pepys, secretary to the Admiralty, began his famous diary on the eve of the Restoration. After his death, the diary was deposited in the Library of Magdalene College, Cambridge (where it remains today) and was not published until over a century after his death, because it was written in a cipher. Clearly, Pepys never intended his words to be read by anyone but himself. The result is a memoir that is candid, unhampered by the conventions and morals of his era, and free from shame and self-censorship.
Early in the nineteenth century, George Neville, Master of the College and brother of Lord Braybrooke, determined to have the diary decoded, and enlisted the services of John Smith, Curate of Barham and a graduate of the College. From 1819 to 1822, John Smith patiently and painstakingly deciphered the six volumes of the diary, and under the editorship of Lord Braybrooke a part was published in 1825 in two large volumes. The complete journal was not issued until 1893.
The volumes exhibited here are in their original boards, with original paper labels and uncut. These were the personal copies of the scholar who deciphered them, with the inside front cover of both volumes bearing his signature: John Smith, Curate of Barham.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates
"Recollections, 1835-38." Manuscript diary, inscribed "To my good friends Mr. and Mrs. Johns . . . Crediton December 10,1836."
Margaret Hazlitt's recollections of her literary family, written for the information and instruction of her nephew William Hazlitt (1811-1893), cover the period from 1737 to about 1812. She compiled information on her father William Hazlitt (1737-1820), and her brothers William Hazlitt (1778-1830) and John Hazlitt (1767-1837) from family papers and her own recollections, as well as those of her mother. The diary is of great interest for its account of the origins and history of the Hazlitt family and its detailed description of the visit of the Reverend William Hazlitt and his family to North America from 1783 to 1787. Margaret Hazlitt's journal is the sole source of material on the early years of her brother, essayist and critic William Hazlitt, and a valuable record of conditions in the United States immediately after the American Revolution. The text, edited by Ernest J. Moyne, was published by the University of Kansas Press in 1967.
Vanity Fair. A Novel Without a Hero. With Illustrations on Steel and Wood by the Author. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848.
Vanity Fair has come down to posterity as Thackeray's most well known and best praised work. Apparently begun in 1845, Vanity Fair--a name derived from a phrase in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress that allegedly occurred to Thackeray in a dream--was originally published serially in 19 monthly numbers of 20 parts (the last issue being a double one) by Bradbury and Evans, the publishers of the satirical magazine Punch. The first part appeared in January, 1847 and the last in July, 1848; the series was entitled Vanity Fair: Pen and Pencil Sketches of English Society.
The novel appeared in book form immediately following the final part in 1848. The volume contains forty full-page plates, including the engraved title page, and 150 woodcuts by the author. The copy shown is the first issue of the first edition, which contains the suppressed woodcut of the "Marquis of Steyne," the text that reads, "Mr. Pitt," instead of "Sir Pitt," and other variants.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. By Lewis Carroll. With Forty-Two Illustrations by John Tenniel. New York: Appleton and Co., 1866.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was a lecturer at Christ Church, Oxford, a clergyman, and a professional mathematician. It is not surprising, then, that this "juvenile"--originally written for the three Liddell children, daughters of the Dean, but particularly for Alice Liddell (later Hargreaves)--should have such a strong appeal for adults. Alice, as well as its equally famous sequel Through the Looking Glass, both of which were written under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, abounds in sophisticated humor, satire, puns, and philosophical observations.
When Dodgson decided to have Alice published, he had to pay for the printing of 2,000 copies himself. It was done at the Oxford University Press and was to be published by Macmillan on commission. The 1865 Oxford printing--now more familiarly known as "the 1865 Alice"--proved unsatisfactory to both the author and the illustrator and Dodgson had all copies recalled after a few had been sold or distributed by presentation. He regained all but ten copies, kept two himself, and distributed the remaining recalled copies (thirty-six) to hospitals. A second edition of Alice, more to the author's standards, was published by Macmillan in 1866, printed by the firm of R. Clay.
The remaining 1,952 copies of the first edition were not wasted, however, as an offer was received from Appleton in New York to buy the unsatisfactory 1865 copies for sale in America. After consulting with Tenniel, Dodgson authorized the sale on April 10, 1865. Early in 1866, the new tipped-in title pages with the Appleton imprint were printed by the Oxford Press for 1,000 copies, which were bound in England and shipped to New York, constituting a second issue of the first edition. The remaining 952 copies, the third issue, were shipped to New York in sheets and bound there with a new title page printed in America.
The copy exhibited is the second (American) issue of the first edition, and is bound in the same red cloth as the first issue, showing Alice holding the Pig on the front cover, and the Chesire Cat on the back.
Gift of Edith du Pont Pearson
Autograph letter signed, to John Gray, Coole Park, Galway, January 3,1904, 2 pages.
Lady Gregory was a leading figure in the Irish literary revival through her assistance to Yeats and others in founding the Irish Literary Theatre and her own translations of Irish legends. This letter is addressed to the British poet and friend of Oscar Wilde, John Gray (1866-1934), who spent many years as rector of St. Peter's in Edinburgh. It relates to his first volume of poetry Silverpoints (1893), which contained translations from Verlaine and Mallarme. Lady Gregory lamented the lack of cultural feeling in Scotland and noted, "Our Irish language revival . . . is beginning to . . . give a power of expression to those who never had it before."
Ulysses. Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1922.
Like several other books in this exhibition, James Joyce's Ulysses was embroiled in a famous and lengthy censorship battle. Ulysses, Joyce's eighth published book, was first published serially in the American literary magazine, The Little Review, from March 1918 to December 1920. The magazine's editors, Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, fought to prevent suppression of Joyce's work on grounds of obscenity and immorality. In the end, however, the censors won a court order against Anderson and Heap, restraining them from any further printing of Ulysses.
Two years later, with the aid of his friend Ezra Pound, Joyce was able to interest Sylvia Beach and her publishing firm, Shakespeare and Company, in his controversial, modernist novel. On February 2, 1922, Ulysses was published by Shakespeare and Company in Paris through the printing services of Maurice Darantiere at Dijon. It was not until December 6,1933, that the ban on Ulysses was lifted in the United States.
The copy exhibited is the first edition issued in Paris, in its original blue printed wrappers. This edition is number 295 of a limited 1,000 copies on handmade paper. Other important editions housed in the Special Collections of the University of Delaware Library include the second edition, published for the Egoist Press of London by John Rodker (Paris, October 1922), printed from the same plates and in the original format; the ninth printing (Shakespeare and Company, 1927), from which the pirated editions that circulated in the United States in 1927-1928 were forged; the New York: Random House, 1934 edition, the first authorized American edition of Ulysses and the New York: Limited Editions Club, 1935 edition, with illustrations by Henri Matisse and signed by the artist.
The Bounty of Sweden: A Meditation, and a Lecture Delivered Before the Royal Swedish Academy and Certain Notes. Dublin, Ireland: The Cuala Press, 1925.
The Bounty of Sweden was Yeats' tribute to Sweden for his award of the Nobel Prize. Printing of the work was completed on the last day of May 1925 in an edition of 400 copies. It was the first book issued from Cuala's new shop and workrooms at 133 Lower Baggot Street in Dublin, to which the press had moved after several years in the poet's house at 82 Merrion Square, Dublin.
The circular device on the title page, depicting a hawk attacking a small bird, was designed by T. Sturge Moore at Yeats' request in 1921. This copy is a setting or proof copy, with numerous pencil corrections in the margins, inscribed by Yeats on July 9, 1925.
Autograph letter signed, to [Shri Purohit] Swami, Dublin, July 3 , 2 pages.
As a young man, Yeats studied at the School of Art in Dublin where, along with a fellow student George Russell (A.E.), he developed an interest in mystic religion and the supernatural. In this letter to an Indian Swami, one of a series in the University of Delaware Library's Special Collections, Yeats compares phenomena experienced by gurus to those recorded by European saints and mediums.
18 Poems. London: The Sunday Referee and the Parton Bookshop, 1934.
18 Poems, Dylan Thomas' first book, was published as the result of a prize. Thomas' poems first appeared in the Sunday Referee in 1933 in a feature column called the "Poets' Corner," edited by Victor Neuburg and Runia Sheila MacLeod. Neuburg began to award prizes to poets whose work was judged to be the finest printed in the column over a period of six months. The prize was that the Sunday Referee would publish the winning poet's work in book form. Dylan Thomas became the second recipient of the prize, which he won for the second of seven poems he published in "Poets' Corner," "The Force that through the Grass Fuse Drives the Flower."
The editors had some difficulty getting Thomas' manuscript accepted by a publisher, until David Archer of the Parton Bookshop agreed to have the book printed. Five hundred copies were printed, but only 250 were bound and issued in December 1934. The remaining half, constituting the second issue, were bound and put on sale on February 21, 1936.
This copy is a first edition, second issue. It contains a double presentation inscription from Thomas to Cecilia Tindall and William York Tindall, the Joyce and Thomas scholar. Thomas misspelled Tindall's name, crossed it out, wrote it in correctly, and re-signed it. The book is exhibited with its pale grey dust wrapper lettered in a darker grey.
Everybody's Political What's What? London: Constable and Co. .
Final proof, with manuscript corrections throughout. Shaw has written the following note in red ink on the front wrapper: "The corrections of the text--mostly to eliminate repetitions--will not involve overrunning and upset the index. The deleted words are carefully balanced by the added ones.. I now leave the book to the proof reader. I want never to see it again."
Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. London: Printed for Archibald Bell and Sold in Boston by Cox and Berry, 1773.
Phillis Wheatley was one of the most well- known poets in America during her day. Wheatley was born on the western coast of Africa and kidnapped from the Senegal-Gambia region when she was about seven years old. Not being of suitable age to be sold as a slave in the West Indies or the southern colonies, she was transported to Boston, where she was purchased in 176l by John Wheatley, a prominent tailor, as an attendant to his wife. Phillis learned English quickly and was taught to read and write, and within sixteen months of her arrival in America she was reading passages from the Bible, Greek and Latin classics, astronomy, geography, history, and British literature.
Phillis published her first poem in the Newport, Rhode Island, Mercury on December 21, 1767. Unable to get her poems published in Boston, Phillis and the Wheatleys turned to London for a publisher, with the result that in 1773 thirty-nine of Phillis' poems were published as Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. This collection, of which a first edition is shown, is Phillis Wheatley's only book, and the first volume of poetry to be published by an Afro-American. The poems reflect the religious and classical background of her New England education. Over one- third consist of elegies, the remainder being on religious, classical and abstract themes.
Purchased through the Matthew Newkirk Memorial Fund
A History of New York, from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty. By Diedrich Knickerbocker. New York: Inskeep & Bradford, 1809. 2 volumes
Under the guise of Diedrich Knickerbocker, "a small elderly gentleman" who had mysteriously disappeared from his lodgings, leaving behind him a manuscript of "the only authentic history of the times that have been or ever will be published," Washington Irving published his most unified and jubilant work in December 1809. Begun as a parody of a guidebook to New York, Irving ended by writing a comic history of New York under Dutch authority (with such governors as "Walter the Doubter," William the Testy," and "Peter the Headstrong"). Fact is interspersed with exaggeration, burlesque and biting sarcasm. The History's combination of mock solemnity and extravagant irreverence was to lay a foundation of style for subsequent American humorists, from Mark Twain to Will Rogers.
According to Irving's manuscript notebook, 2,000 copies of A History were printed and bound. An engraved view of New Amsterdam is inserted facing the title page of Volume One.
Poems. Cambridge, Mass.: Hilliard and Metcalf, 182l.
William Cullen Bryant published this, his first collection of poems, when he was twenty-seven years old. "Thanatopsis," the most outstanding piece in this collection of eight poems and certainly the most famous of all his verse, was first published in the Hampshire Gazette when the author was only seventeen. Another poem of note in this volume is the mystico-religious "To a Waterfowl."
The manuscript for Poems was edited for publication by Richard Henry Dana, Sr. and E.T. Channing, and printed by Hilliard and Metcalf in an edition of 750 in late August or early September of 1821. Some copies were bound in boards and some in wrappers. This issue shown is an unopened copy in its brown printed wrappers. It is conjectured that only 200 copies were bound this way.
Fanshawe; A Tale. Boston: Marsh & Capen, 1828.
Hawthorne, heir to the Puritan tradition and influenced by the transcendental currents of his own day, drew on the history of colonial New England and his native Salem in the time of is ancestors for many of his plots. He saw guilt- imagined or real, revealed or concealed - as a universal human experience, and this theme is central to Fanshawe, his first work of fiction.
Fanshawe, published anonymously at Hawthorne's own expense three years after he graduated from Bowdoin College, is a tale of concealed identity, abduction, flight and pursuit that shows the influence of the Gothic novel tradition. The author withdrew Fanshawe from circulation and destroyed as many copies as possible, including those belonging to friends and relatives. Hawthorne also did not include it later among his acknowledged works. This copy is a first edition, in the original brown paper boards with buff-colored paper label on the spine.
Essays. Boston: James Monroe and Company, 1841.
Emerson's essays, the most famous of which is "Self-Reliance," are unique not only in American literature but also in the English language. No series of essays ever exerted so much influence or enjoyed such long popularity as Emerson's moral discussions of ideals and human conduct. The quality of each essay are timeless and universal, but contain the New England spirit that was so much a part of Emerson's character.
A second series of essays, published in 1844, forms a continuation of the first series. The copy exhibited is the first edition of the first series of essays, bound in brown cloth.
"A Winter Walk." Autograph manuscript, with emendations and deletions in the hand of Ralph Waldo Emerson [New York, 1843], 18 pages.
This magnificent manuscript was written in New York in 1843, while Thoreau was staying with Emerson's brother, submitted to Emerson and published later that year in The Dial. The essay was revised by Thoreau during composition and edited for publication by Emerson, who made a few substantive changes and numerous deletions. The manuscript, which varies significantly from the published text, was apparently used as printer's copy for The Dial, and all the revisions and deletions were observed.
Thoreau's manuscript originally consisted of 43 pages, of which the first 16 pages and pages 19-20 do not survive. Present here are pages 17-18, 21-24 and 29-40. The Pierpont Morgan Library and the Houghton Library each have one of the missing leaves, and two additional leaves survive in private collections. "A Winter Walk," which has been called Thoreau's "first fully mature piece of writing," contains some of his earliest serious writing on nature, with allusions to both Walden Pond and the Concord River. It was first published in book form in Excursions in 1863.
Leaves of Grass. Brooklyn, N.Y., 1855.
Walt Whitman - a remarkable and individual poet, prose writer, journalist, philosopher, outspoken herald of American democracy, and supreme egoist - is one of America's towering literary figures, and his Leaves of Grass is one of the most celebrated and, along with Faulkner's The Marble Faun, most sought-after of American first editions. This slim volume, containing twelve poems and a long prose preface, was certainly Whitman's personal favorite, and he continued to revise and enlarge it through eleven successive editions to the time of his death (by which time 283 poems had been added). The poems are imbues with a fiercely independent American spirit that was so much a part of Whitman's character.
The copy exhibited is a later issue of the first edition. Since copies of the first edition were bound up as required, they show all kind of subtle variants in text and binding between the earliest and latest issues. This copy is distinguished as a later issue by its eight preliminary pages of advertisements or reviews, and by its green cloth binding, blind stamped on its back cover, with the title in gold on the front cover and spine.
Little Women or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1868.
This barely disguised account of Alcott family life marks the advent of the modern juvenile novel, along with Mary M. Dodge's Hans Brinker (1866) and Thomas B. Aldrich's The Story of a Bad Boy (1870). In this tale of coming of age in nineteenth-century New England, Alcott portrayed childhood and adolescence with realism, naturalism and sincerity, even to the point of capturing the speech patterns and behavior of teenagers. This was quite unconventional for the fiction of her time.
When Little Women was published in the fall of 1868, only a small number was printed, and these did not sell well. As a consequence, when the second part was issued the following year, it too was printed in a small edition, but became extremely popular, awakening the public to the first part, both of which were soon sold out. Thus the first issues of Little Women and Little Women, Part Second are quite scarce. The first edition of Little Women was issued in purple, brick red and green cloth; the University of Delaware Library copy on exhibit is in the green binding. The frontispiece was illustrated by Louisa May Alcott's sister, May.
Purchased through the Matthew Newkirk Memorial Fund
Tales of Soldiers and Civilians. San Francisco: E. L. G. Steele, 1891.
Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, Bierce's first collection of short stories, is also his best and most well known work. In ten soldier stories and nine civilian tales, Bierce displays the literary style for which he is famous: an eccentric taste for the bizarre, sardonic and cynical. In the soldier's story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," the tale of a hanging, the reader is shocked, perhaps even a little cheated, by the unexpected ending. In the civilian tale, "A Watcher of the Dead," a weird story about a strange wager concerning a dead body, one is kept in a state of suspended horror. In reading Bierce's Tales, it is tempting to make comparisons with Edgar Allan Poe or O. Henry - comparisons which always annoyed Bierce.
Tales was rejected by leading publishers and had to be privately printed and financed by Bierce's merchant friend, E. L. G. Steele. Copies were bound in grey, brown and green cloth, with the title and author's name stamped in gold on the spine and diagonally across the lower fore-edge corner of the front cover. The copy displayed is in grey cloth.
Maggie, A Girl of the Streets. (A Story of New York). By Johnston Smith. [New York, 1893].
Maggie, Stephen Crane's first novel, was printed privately at his own expense under the pseudonym Johnston Smith. Maggie is recognized as the first American example of a technique that would come to be known as stark realism. A non-sentimental tale of slum life in New York City by publishers of religious and medical materials. A second, hard-cover edition, published by D. Appleton and Company of New York in 1896, was the first edition to acknowledge Crane's authorship on the title page. The copy exhibited is in its original printed yellow wrappers, unopened The original publication price announced on the title page was fifty cents.
Autograph letter signed, to Alice Ruth Moore. Indianapolis, May 23, 1895. 4 pages.
Paul Laurence Dunbar was a poet, short story writer, novelist, writer of articles and dramatic sketches, plays, and lyrics for musical compositions. He is most noted for his highly skilled and graceful use of Afro-American themes and dialects. Born in Dayton, Ohio, the son of a slave, he went to Chicago in 1893 to work at the World's Columbian Exposition, for which he wrote The Columbian Ode" in commemoration. His overnight fame as a poet came after William Dean Howells reviewed Dunbar's volume of verse, Majors and Minors, published in 1895.
Alice Moore Dunbar Nelson (1875-1935) was born and educated in New Orleans, Louisiana. Nelson became a poet and a pioneer in the black short story tradition, and devoted her later life to education, journalism and political and social activism. After her graduation from Straight College in New Orleans, Nelson taught in the public school system of that city until 1895, and began to submit poetry to the Boston Monthly Review. The young, struggling poet, Dunbar, took notice of one of these poems, along with an accompanying photograph of the poetess, and wrote to Nelson, then Alice Ruth Moore, raising literary issues. Thus became a lengthy series of correspondence in which they developed a friendship that led to their marriage in 1898 (they separated in 1902).
In reply to Dunbar's first letter, Nelson set forth her views on the literary use of "the Negro problem," stating that she did not think of her characters as "types of a race or an idea." In this letter she also mentioned the forthcoming publication of her first book, Violets and Other Tales (1895). In response, Dunbar wrote this second letter to his future wife, in which he argued that the characters of people, even in real life, cannot be disembodied from principles or ideas, and that "every character who moves across the pages of a story is to my mind-and a very humble mind it is-only an idea, incarnated." He also states that he will mention her forthcoming book in the column he edits. In this letter, Dunbar makes the first motion to move from the professional to the personal: "But let us not be literary in our letters, let us be friendly. I like it better don't you." He also says that he cannot include any verses with this letter, but welcomes the opportunity to do so in other letters. Indeed, in his fourth letter to Nelson, he included his poem "A Song," which he dedicated to her.
This letter, along with many other pieces of correspondence between the two writers, is part of the recently acquired Alice Monroe Dunbar Nelson Papers in the Manuscript Collection of the University of Delaware Library's Special Collections Department. The letters chronicle in detail their loving and intellectual relationship during the period 1895-1904, when Dunbar rose from obscurity to national fame. The Dunbar Nelson papers also comprise manuscript poems by Paul Dunbar, as well as a number of books from his personal library, extensive files of the working papers of Alice Moore Dunbar Nelson through 1930, her typescript manuscripts, photographs, journals and clippings.
Three Stories & Ten Poems [Paris:] Contact Publishing Co., 1923
One of 300 copies of the first edition of the author's first book, inscribed "To Louis Henry Cohn from Ernest Hemingway." The Contact Publishing Company was founded in 1923 by Robert McAlmon (1896-1956), an American expatriate writer and publisher in Paris. McAlmon and Hemingway had met earlier that year at Rapallo, where Ezra Pound was living.
This presentation copy has Hemingway's holograph corrections throughout the story "Up in Michigan," which was not published in the United States until 1938. The version included that year in The First Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories was the uncorrected one; these corrections have never been published. The volume bears the bookplate of Captain Louis Henry Cohn, Hemingway's first bibliographer. The bookplate was designed by Hemingway and reads, in Hemingway's hand, "From the works (give him the works) of Ernest Hemingway in the Library of Louise Henry Cohn." Three Stories & Ten Poems is part of a collection of first editions, manuscripts, galleys and other material by and about Ernest Hemingway formed by Cohn now in the University of Delaware Library.
The Captain Louis Henry Cohn/Marguerite Cohn Ernest Hemingway Collection
The Marble Faun. Boston: The Four Seas Company, 1924.
William Faulkner's first published book, The Marble Faun, is not a novel but a collection of verse--nineteen poems in a pastoral cycle--which appeared in December of 1924. In his preface to The Marble Faun, Faulkner's friend, the lawyer Phil Stone, who subsidized the book's publication, writes, "these are primarily the poems of youth and a simple heart. It is seldom that much can be truthfully said for a first book beyond that it shows promise. And I think these poems show promise." These are prophetic words, even though Faulkner would never be noted as a poet, and would publish only one other volume of poetry in his long career. Yet, Faulkner considered himself a poet, and surely a sense of poetry runs through all his works.
It is perhaps fitting, then, that of all his twenty seven books, including such world- acclaimed novels as The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, and Absalom, Absalom!, the rarest is The Marble Faun. Of the conjectured 500 copies printed, barely 100 are now extant. The copy shown is in its original mottled green boards, with the paper label on the front cover designed by Marjorie Very, showing a faun with pipes seated among leaves.
Land of Unlikeness. Introduction by Allen Tate. [Cummington, Mass.]: The Cummington Press, 1944.
One of 250 copies of the first edition of Lowell's first book, with a title-page woodcut by Gustav Wolf. The work was printed at the press of the Cummington School, where Harry Duncan printed first editions of works by many important twentieth-century poets. Lowell, whose New England ancestors included James Russell and Amy Lowell, was associated with nearly all the important American poets of the first half of this century. He was a student at St. Mark's School when Richard Eberhart was on the faculty, and he knew Frost early on. Through Ford Madox Ford, Lowell visited Allen Tate and his wife Caroline Gordon at their home in Tennessee, and soon after left Harvard to study with John Crowe Ransom at Kenyon College.
In his "Introduction" to Lowell's first book, his mentor Tate provided a brilliant summary of current themes and future directions in Lowell's work, pointing to tendencies toward intellectualized Christian symbolism and a more personal, historical vision. Lowell revised his work extensively over the course of his career, and most of the poems in Land of Unlikeness have never been reprinted in their original form.
"Mumbo Jumbo." Typescript with autograph corrections [197l], 294 pages.
Ishmael Reed is one of today's preeminent Afro-American literary figures--perhaps the most widely reviewed since Ralph Ellison, and, along with Amiri Baraka, probably the most controversial. Since the publication of his first novel, The Free-Lance Pallbearers, in 1967, Reed has thus far produced seven novels, four books of poetry, two collections of essays, numerous reviews and critical articles, and has edited two major anthologies. Reed's literary style is best known for its use of parody and satire in attempts to create new myths and to challenge the formal conventions of literary tradition. Reed's works have alternately been criticized as incoherent, muddled, and abstruse, and hailed as multicultural, revolutionary, vivid, and containing a deep awareness of mythic archetypes.
This original typescript for Mumbo Jumbo, Reed's third novel, was heavily corrected by the author and the editor. The typescript includes Reed's "Style Sheet," which provides clues about the author's arrangement and uses of verb tense, punctuation, discourse, numbers, and capitalization. This typescript is part of a comprehensive collection of Ishmael Reed's Papers in the Manuscript Collection in the University of Delaware Library's Special Collections Department.
Mumbo Jumbo (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1972), also exhibited here, was the work that first achieved wide notoriety for the author, and it is considered by several scholars to be his best, along with Flight to Canada (1976). Mumbo Jumbo is a mythic/magic epic centered in places like New Orleans and Harlem during the Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. The story depicts the struggle between Jes Grew, the black cultural impulse, and Western monotheistic tradition, which Reed calls the Atonists. Reed incorporates illustrations, footnotes and bibliographies in parody of the documentary conventions of black realism. The dust jacket for Mumbo Jumbo was designed by Reed and Allen Weinberg.
Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce. Privately Printed .
One of seven copies, signed by the author, of a recent work by the poet who has recently been named America's first poet laureate. Warren, who was born in Kentucky and studied with John Crowe Ransom, joined the Fugitive Movement with Allen Tate and others. Their concern to preserve the agrarian ideals of a proud and individualistic people is inherent in Warren's portrayal of the Nez Perce chief.
According to a "Note" prefaced to the work, the tribe, who received Lewis and Clark "in great friendship" and provided them with supplies, were not warlike and never harmed a white man "until forced." The Federal government had treaties guaranteeing the sacred homeland of the Nez Perce, but Chief Joseph died in 1904, "a prisoner on a reservation in the state of Washington The reservation physician reported the death as caused by a broken heart." Warren used journal cuttings, newspaper clippings, military reports, treaty excerpts and powerful, often incantatory verse in the poem, a trade edition of which appeared in 1983.
"The Rose Tattoo (A Play in Three Parts)." Carbon typescript signed, dated New York, October, 1950, 140 pages.
"The Rose Tattoo" opened on Broadway in February 1951 and ran for 300 performances. Set in a Sicilian community on the gulf coast, the play reflects Williams' admiration of the warmth and lustiness of the Italian people. This fourth draft is inscribed by the playwright on the title page, "My Copy of script used during rehearsals and Chicago try-out." There are holograph corrections and annotations throughout the playscript in Williams' and an unknown hand.
The text of this playscript differs significantly from the published version (New York: New Directions, 1951). The typescript forms a part of a collection of manuscripts, correspondence and books by and about Tennessee Williams formed by Norman Unger and now in the University of Delaware Library. Nearly 300 volumes and over 1,500 pages of manuscript material document Williams' stage and screen careers, as well as his international influence and reputation.