BIERCE, AMBROSE | The Collected Works. New York & Washington: The Neale Publishing Company, 1909-1912, with an ALS written shortly before his disappearance
BIERCE, AMBROSE | The Collected Works. New York & Washington: The Neale Publishing Company, 1909-1912, with an ALS written shortly before his disappearance
BIERCE, AMBROSE | The Collected Works. New York & Washington: The Neale Publishing Company, 1909-1912, with an ALS written shortly before his disappearance
147

BIERCE, AMBROSE | The Collected Works. New York & Washington: The Neale Publishing Company, 1909-1912, with an ALS written shortly before his disappearance

Estimate: 4,000 - 6,000 USD

BIERCE, AMBROSE | The Collected Works. New York & Washington: The Neale Publishing Company, 1909-1912, with an ALS written shortly before his disappearance

Estimate: 4,000 - 6,000 USD

Lot Details

Description

BIERCE, AMBROSE | The Collected Works. New York & Washington: The Neale Publishing Company, 1909-1912, with an ALS written shortly before his disappearance


12 volumes, 8vo (8 3/8 x 5 5/8 in.; 213 x 142 mm). Frontispiece portrait of Bierce, brown morocco paneled in gilt and blind, front cover with central gilt cartouche enclosing the author's initials, smooth spines paneled in gilt and blind, gilt dentelles, maroon moiré silk linings, all edges gilt; extremities somewhat rubbed. 

Autograph Letter Signed ("Ambrose Bierce") to Walter Neale laid into volume 1. The Olympian, Washington, D.C.: 19 September 1913. 2pp. Inscribed by Neale on the verso, "This is probably the last letter written by Ambrose Bierce. Walter Neale," accompanying postmarked envelope laid in volume 9; previously folded. 


Limited edition, one of 250, signed by Bierce on the compliments page, extra illustrated with the insertion of original letters and documents by Bierce, his publisher Walter Neale, and their contemporaries, including one of the last known letters written by Bierce, to Neale, referencing his impending trip to Mexico.


Ambrose Bierce's disappearance in the winter of 1913-1914 is one of the enduring mysteries of the twentieth century. A 71 year-old Bierce purportedly left for Mexico with the aim of bearing witness to Pancho Villa's revolution, before vanishing without a trace. Some scholars believe he was killed in the siege of Ojinaga in January 1914, while others interpret the trip as a cover for suicide, having previously characterized it as a noble act. Regardless, "Bitter Bierce" seems to have been seeking his own death in one way or another. 


In the letter laid into volume one, Bierce lays out his plan for his impending travels, before tacitly acknowledging the danger of his undertaking by entreating his publisher to pray for his safekeeping: "I expect to leave here about the first of next month. My plans include an invasion of Mexico (If I can get in) and later (If I can get out) a January in South America. As the prayers of the righteous avail much you are invited to pray for me as hard as you can." 


ABPC records only one later letter has come to market (a letter dated 29 September 1913 — Doyle, 23 April 2013). Bierce's last known correspondence dates to 26 December 1913. 


REFERENCES

BAL 1129


PROVENANCE

Siegel (bookplate)

Condition Report

Condition as described in catalogue entry.


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Online bidding closed21 Jun 2019 | 08:23 PM GMT