Inscribed by J. Meade Falkner to Thomas Hardy
Falkner, John Meade. Moonfleet.
London: Edward Arnold, 1898.
First Edition. 8vo. 305pp. + 32pp ads. dated November 1898 Publisher’s dark red cloth, gilt titles to front board and spine, cloth embossed with silver gilt and black embellishment depicting the Mohune family crest. Silver gilt slightly rubbed as usual, some light bumping to extremities. A very good, clean copy indeed. Edges untrimmed, internally clean, robust and tight. A very attractive and distinguished copy of a rare book, the mention of which is guaranteed to elicit a response from anyone who was at school in the seventies when this particular beautifully written tale of smuggling, crypts and Dorsetshire derring-do was required reading. This particular copy is not only a particularly nice example of a very scarce book, but it is also inscribed by the author. Falkner was never particularly forthcoming with his signature so signed and inscribed copies of his books are scarce, we have only seen two or three and they are more normally copies of The Lost Stradivarius and The Nebuly Coat; signed or inscribed copies of Moonfleet are very difficult. This copy is inscribed to the great Victorian writer Thomas Hardy, “from the author, 1898.” the year of publication.
Meade Falkner and Thomas Hardy shared a friendship, a correspondence and an interest in ecclesiastical architecture which is not often mentioned in biographical references, only a handful of letters referencing the relationship remain, and only one between Hardy and Falkner, albeit one written in such a warm and familiar style as to clearly claim a friendship. Hardy was a fan of Falkner’s “The Nebuly Coat” and wrote to his sister of spending brief holidays with the Falkners in Weymouth. Despite an age difference of 22 years or so, there are numerous areas of overlap between Hardy and Falkner, both meticulous, both troubled antiquarians, numerous acquaintances in common and both quintessentially British in their personal and indeed authorial connection to the nation’s history and the essence of its geography. A great association between two eminently literary men who together spanned 90 years from the height of Empire to its foundering decline in poetry and prose. Scarce.