"To the few who love me and whom I love – to those who seek rather than to those who think – to the dreamers and those who put faith in dreams as in the only realities – I offer this book of truths" : Rare first edition of Edgar Allan Poe's Magnum Opus, Eureka, One of only 500 copies
Eureka: A Prose Poem.
Poe, Edgar Allan.$17,500.00
Item Number: 37022
New York: George P. Putnam, 1848.
First edition, first issue. Duodecimo, original publishers blind stamped black cloth with gilt lettering to the spine. First issue, without the review for Eurkea on page 2 of the 16 page catalogue at the end of the book, but reads simply: “Poe. — Eureka, A Prose Poem: Or the Physical and Metaphysical Universe. By Edgar A. Poe, Esq.” In very good condition, with some light rubbing to the extremities, contemporary inscription to the front free endpaper. Housed in a custom cloth box. A nice, bright example of this rare and important text.
Poe considered Eureka his magnum opus, but Putnam only agreed to publish 500 copies due to the unique nature of the material. Eureka has often been misunderstood and ridiculed, but it is in fact a remarkable precursor of several modern theories of physics and a powerful essay on the material and spiritual universe. Poe hypothesized that the universe began at a set point in the past and was finite rather than infinite. In arguing that the Universe of Stars must be finite, he appeals to the evidence of observed experience. Poe wrote, “Were the succession of stars endless, then the background of the sky would present us an uniform luminosity, like that displayed by the Galaxy–since there could be absolutely no point, in all that background, at which would not exist a star. The only mode, therefore, in which, under such a state of affairs, we could comprehend the voids which our telescopes find in innumerable directions, would be by supposing the distance of the invisible background so immense that no ray from it has yet been able to reach us at all. That this may be so, who shall venture to deny? I maintain, simply, that we have not even the shadow of a reason for believing that it is so.” BAL 16153.