The Scarlet Letter.

FIRST THOMSON ILLUSTRATED EDITION OF NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE'S THE SCARLET LETTER; FINELY BOUND BY BAYNTUN-RIVIERE

The Scarlet Letter.

HAWTHORNE, Nathaniel; Illustrated by Hugh Thomson.

$2,500.00

Item Number: 122372

London: Methuen & Company Limited, 1920.

First illustrated edition by Hugh Thomson of Hawthorne’s masterwork. Quarto, bound in full morocco by Bayntun-Riviere with morocco spine labels lettered in gilt, elaborate gilt tooling to the spine, front and rear panels, raised gilt bands, double gilt ruling to the panels with gilt turn-ins and inner dentelles, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt, tipped-in frontispiece with captioned tissue guard, title vignette, 30 tipped-in color plates with captioned tissue guards, all by Thomson. In fine condition. An exceptional example.

"The most memorable and original aspect of The Scarlet Letter lies in Hawthorne's portrait of Hester Prynne, who has been described as "the first true heroine of American fiction", a woman whose experience evokes the biblical fate of Eve. Hawthorne's achievement is to make her passion noble, her defiance heartbreaking and her frailty inspiring. She becomes the archetype of the free-thinking American woman grappling with herself and her sexuality in a cold, patriarchal society" (The Guardian). The first edition of The Scarlet Letter sold out in ten days and “made Hawthorne’s fame, changed his fortune and gave to our literature its first symbolic novel a year before the appearance of Melville’s Moby-Dick” (Bradley).

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