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THE EMANCIPATED by  George Gissing - First Edition - 1890 - from Sumner & Stillman (SKU: 13726)


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by Gissing, George

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  • hardcover
  • First
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About This Item

1890. [a handsome copy] A Novel. In Three Volumes. London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1890. Original patterned paper-covered boards with brown cloth spines. First Edition, which consisted of 1,000 copies (of which, according to the publisher, only 492 were sold -- but that may have been Bentley's ruse to avoid paying Gissing "bonuses" that would kick in if 850 or all 1,000 were to sell). The young widow Miriam Baske leaves grey Lancashire for the sun of Naples, Italy, where she finds herself among many of her countrymen in a vastly different social scene -- similar to some of Henry James's accounts of transplanted Americans and Britishers, and reminiscent of MIDDLEMARCH. The novel marked the beginning of Gissing's series of psychological novels, "which were less concerned with the effects of environment and more concerned with the emotional and intellectual conflicts experienced by socially alienated characters" [Collie]. This was the only one of Gissing's novels to have been published by Bentley -- though Bentley had earlier paid for but not published MRS. GRUNDY'S ENEMIES, suppressed on moral grounds. For Bentley in the 1890s, this is quite a tame binding; trying to stave off the demise of the three-decker format, Bentley came out with some outrageously florid bindings in the final years (the three-decker died in 1894 anyway). This is a bright copy, just about fine; since in 1890 most copies of three-decker novels were still being bought up by the lending libraries, the first edition of THE EMANCIPATED in this condition is now extremely scarce. Coustillas A8.1; Collie A8a; Spiers & Coustillas L1; Sadleir 966; Wolff 2546. Provenance: each front paste-down bears the discreet ink-stamp of Francis Stuart Burd (collector of Rochester NY), who in 1958 bought a major Gissing collection from Max Clements Richter (who had been a consul in the U.S. State Dept.) via Gilboy's House of Books; manuscript material of this transaction is today held at the University of Manchester.


First published in the UK by Richard Bentley & Son, 1890. The text used in the Hogarth edition is offset from the Lawrence & Bullen edition of 1893.


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Sumner & Stillman US (US)
Bookseller Inventory #
Gissing, George
Book condition
Quantity available
Date published
Bookseller catalogs
Fiction (19th Century); Three-Decker Novels;

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Sumner & Stillman

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About the Seller

Sumner & Stillman

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since: 2009
Yarmouth, Maine
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About Sumner & Stillman

Founded in 1980, Sumner & Stillman is a small family business providing personal service in the buying and selling of literary first editions of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) for over 30 years.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...[more]
The paste-down is the portion of the endpaper that is glued to the inner boards of a hardback book. The paste-down forms an...[more]
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...[more]
Very generally, "leaves" refers to the pages of a book, as in the common phrase, "loose-leaf pages." A leaf is a single sheet...[more]

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