i) hardy's copy for the paperback edition, in the form of a disbound copy of the Harper & Brothers reprint of Osgood's "Wessex Novels" edition (1900), with significant autograph revisions by hardy throughout, 476 pages, 8vo, with twelve preliminary pages, a few pages marked at head in red pencil "Copy" or "Copy for new edition", most leaves marked at head in pencil (with various names, presumably of compositors), dust- and inkstaining throughout, occasional nicks and tears (not affecting text), tears across 30 pages repaired with tape at margins (no loss), overall condition consistent with frequent handling by printer
ii) page proofs of the paperback edition, printed in double-columns, with some autograph corrections by Hardy (ranging from typographical changes to revisions or additions of single words and phrases), the first leaf of most half-gatherings stamped by the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh, dated in ink (16 to 30 April 1901) and marked by Hardy "press", 144 pages including preliminaries, 8vo, gatherings sewn, with additional two-leaf proof of the Preface inserted, repaired tear to G8 (no loss), some browning and dust-staining to first and last pages and edges, some nicks and small tears (no loss), slight creasing
this extremely rare paperback edition contains a number of unique readings as well as numerous revisions subsequently incorporated into later english editions, including the Macmillan Uniform Edition (1902) and the Macmillan Wessex Edition (1912).
Harper & Brothers, who had become Hardy's principal publishers in both England and America after their acquisition of Osgood, McIlvaine & Co., were in severe financial difficulties in 1900. They sought to profit further from Hardy's novels by publishing sixpenny paperback editions of Tess and Far From the Madding Crowd. Although the sixpenny Tess was a great commercial success (Hardy informed a correspondent in March 1901 that the publishers "did very well over the 6d Tess, having sold 100,000 copies without the least difficulty"), very few copies of these two paperback editions seem to have survived.
As is evident from these proofs, Hardy made over 250 substantial alterations to the text of Far From the Madding Crowd for this paperback edition, taking advantage of the fact that it was to be entirely reset. However, he was obliged to be more selective when revising the text for the Macmillan Uniform edition of 1902 which was to be issued from the plates of the Osgood collected edition; fewer than 40 of the alterations made for the paperback were transferred to the Uniform edition, and not always word for word. Similarly, the 1912 Wessex edition, now accepted as standard, contains only a fraction of the alterations made for the paperback. For a detailed discussion of these alterations and their relation to particular themes, see Gatrell, pp.165-175.
By 1901 Hardy was devoting his energies almost entirely to poetry, but it is remarkable to see such evidence of his continuing attentiveness to the details of his novels when presented with the opportunities offered by a new and re-set edition. the corrections in both copy and proofs reveal the more experienced hardy polishing the text of his first major novel more than 25 years after its first publication.
We are grateful to Michael Millgate for his assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.
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