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Erckmann-Chatrian, MM. The Polish Jew.

Erckmann-Chatrian, MM. The Polish Jew.

London: John Camden Hotten, n.d. [1872].

First English Edition. Technically a 16mo. Bound in contemporary blue-green half calf over marbled boards. Red title label, gilt decoration to spines. Minor rubbing and edgewear, strong and extremely handsome, a very attractive little book. Internally clean, green endpapers, ink ownership to front pastedown. One of the French duo’s more popular and enduring works, a psychological descent into chaos dramatised as “The Bells” providing the role that became one of Sir Henry Irving’s best known roles. Here seen in it’s first English appearance as part of the redoubtable if trouble prone John Camden Hotten’s groundbreaking translated publications. Hotten, noted bibliophile and enthusiast, seems to have constantly hovered on the brink of controversy, a noted collector and producer of erotica, published Swinburne’s “Poems and Ballads” to cries of indecency after Moxon fell afoul of it (although gossip has it that Hotten virtually blackmailed Swinburne into making things a bit more racy, things to blackmail Swinburne about never exactly being thin on the ground). He introduced London to Walt Whitman, Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, having spent a few years in America and not being one to miss an opportunity. He also wrote biographies of notable authors, under a pseudonym. The publishing house he founded eventually, through a process of accretion, became the much vaunted Chatto & Windus. A scarce book.

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