Dresden: Walther, 1830.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Near Fine. Item #003070
8vo (174 x 103 mm). xii, 207 ; , 292; , 250,  pp., including half-title to each volume, colophon at the end of volume III. Bound in contemporary half calf over marbled boards, spines ruled and lettered in gilt (light rubbing to extremities, worm track to foot of upper joint of vol. III), sprinkled edges, marbled endpapers. Internally quite crisp and clean with only very little browning and occasional faint spotting or foxing, clean tear to p.169/70 of vol. II. Provenance: Château de Wideville (round armorial bookplate to front pastedown of each volume). A near fine, unmarked and unstained copy in untouched binding of the time. ----
BAL 3845; Beard I pp. 415-416; Spiller and Blackburn 12 p. 64-65. RARE FIRST EDITION (preceding the London edition by a month, and the American by three) of James Fenimore Cooper's novel The Water Witch. Set in 17th century New York and the surrounding sea, it depicts the abduction of a woman (Alida de Barbérie) by the captain and pirate of the brigantine Water Witch, and the subsequent pursuit of that elusive ship by her suitor, Captain Ludlow. Cooper wrote the novel while on an extended tour through Europe, during his stay in the villa Palazzu detta del Tasso near Naples. He tried to print the novel while he was in Italy in 1829 but Papal censors forbade its publication in Italy. Cooper was able to find a printer in Dresden, Germany, before also sending copies to his publishers in the US and England.
The first edition is of exceptional rarity. One of only a handful of copies (possibly 8) published in this edition preceding publication in both London and Philadelphia. The first edition of The Water-Witch was printed by C. C. Meinhold and Sons in Dresden for the German bookseller who styled himself Walthersche Hofbuchhandlung and then distributed to Cooper's translators and other publishers. A draft of Cooper's agreement with Walther exists in Dartmouth College Library, dated 26 May 1830, although only signed by Cooper: "The said J. Fenimore Cooper is to receive eight copies of each sheet as it is printed, with the right to send the said sheets to his correspondents or Publishers in those Countries where he may have arrangements to that effect, and he is to receive two complete copies of the work when finished." According to American Book Prices Current only five other copies of this edition have appeared at auction since 1975. Of those only the Katharine B. Parsons collection sold at Sotheby's (6 October 1976, lot 54) and the copy sold at Christie's New York (3 December 2007) were in original boards; a copy in orange gilt boards was sold at Sotheby's (10 July 2001, lot 65); and Pacific Book Auctions (3 November 2005, lot 189) sold a copy in contemporary half cloth, with "traces of pink wraps on the half-titles". - Visit our website for additional images and information.
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