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Hardy, Thomas. Far From The Madding Crowd.

London,: Smith Elder., 1874.

First edition, first issue. Two volumes. 8vo. Bound in green half crushed morocco over green cloth boards, titled and decorated in gilt to slight faded spines. Gilt ruling to boards. Top edges gilt. Neat, sharp, executed with Zaehnsdorf's usual skill and very handsome indeed. Marbled endpapers, front pastedown bearing the bookplate of A.C. Surtees, collector of high repute and great breadth (you should see the catalogue for his Victorian obscurities collection!). Internally clean and sharp. Repaired, tiny closed tear to fore-edge of frontispiece and title page not interfering with the next and less than a centimetre in length, very good clean copies indeed in a beautiful binding. With twelve full page illustrations by H. Paterson (actually Helen Allingham, as she was born). Extremely scarce in the first issue, only 1000 copies at time of printing (so probably half that by now), and without much doubt the book that cemented Hardy's reputation as a writer of skill, observation and deserved renown. Plus he was mates with J. Meade Falkner, and it is the first depiction of his fictional (and somewhat hectic) Wessex, so that's a further count in its favour. A delightful copy of a scarce milestone of Victorian fiction.

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