“I am going to tell you a story, one of those tales of astonishing adventures that happend years and years and years ago”: First Edition of L. Frank Baum's The Enchanted Island of Yew; Inscribed by Him

  • The Enchanted Island of Yew.

The Enchanted Island of Yew.


Item Number: 50064

Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1903.

First edition early state with 8 color plates. Octavo, original gray cloth printed in black, vermilion and lavender, pictorial endpapers. Inscribed by L. Frank Baum on the half-title page. In very good condition with some rubbing to the cloth. Rare and desirable signed and inscribed.

Yew is the most traditional of Baum's fantasy lands, with knights and castles as well as fairies. It resembles the countries of Queen Zixi of Ix more than the lands of Oz. The Island of Yew is set at some undisclosed place "in the middle of the sea". (Later commentators have sometimes placed it in Baum's Nonestic Ocean with the landmass that contains the Land of Oz and its associated countries but the book itself does not reference this.) Like Oz, it is divided into four countries associated with the four cardinal directions, plus a fifth central country that dominates the others. In the east of Yew lies the land of Dawna; in the west, "tinted rose and purple by the setting sun", is Auriel. In the south lies the kingdom of Plenta, "where fruits and flowers abounded"; and in the north is Heg, the most stereotypically feudal and medieval of the four. In the center, like the Emerald City in Oz, lies the fifth kingdom of Spor. But while the Emerald City is a powerfully positive place, the centrally-located Spor has just the opposite influence for Yew: Spor is a bandit land, ruled by the mysterious King Terribus, and populated by "giants with huge clubs, and dwarfs who threw flaming darts, and the stern Gray Men of Spor, who were the most frightful of all". The other peoples of Yew are pleased if the denizens of Spor come to rob them only once a year.

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