Hawthorne, Nathaniel, The Complete Writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Company, 1900. 22 volume set, limited autograph edition, #23 of 500 printed. Rare, period green leather binding with gilt tooling. Housed in custom green slipcases.
This twenty-two volume set is number twenty-three of only five hundred sets published. It is part of the limited autograph edition published in 1900. This set is one of only five published in the “Roger Payne” style bindings and was bound especially for “Mr. C. F. Emerson.” It is signed boldly on the edition page by the author’s daughter, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, and by the publisher, Houghton Mifflin & Co. The books feature both color and black and white illustrations throughout.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was an American novelist and short story writer who specialized in dark romantic genres. Much of Hawthorne’s work is set in New England, where he took inspiration from Puritan practices and themes. Hawthorne was first established as a short story writer after the publication of Twice-Told Tales in 1837. His literary focus shifted with his novel The Scarlet Letter, which brought him significant fame and attention. Ticknor and Fields, publishers who worked alongside Hawthorne for much of his career, published The Scarlet Letter in 1850 after convincing Hawthorne to transform the short story into a full, dark romance novel. Hawthorne later went on to publish multiple novels in addition to his short stories.
In 1882, publishers Ticknor and Fields issued a uniform series of Hawthorne’s writings for the first time, which featured gathered tales and papers from Hawthorne’s life work. The twenty-two volume edition from 1900 offers the complete works with the addition of new illustrations from recognized contemporaries, an introduction by the author’s daughter Rose, and bibliographical notes by Mr. H. E. Scudder. The Complete Writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne combines the best of the author’s work; from early work through later essays, notes, and even sketches.
Hawthorne’s work was well received during his lifetime. Edgar Allan Poe commented; “The style of Mr. Hawthorne is purity itself. His tone is singularly effective—wild, plaintive, thoughtful, and in full accordance with his themes ... We look upon him as one of the few men of indisputable genius to whom our country has as yet given birth.”
This complete twenty-two volume set is bound in extremely rare period leather bindings in the “Roger Payne” style, bound specially for “Mr. C. F. Emerson.” All books feature intricate gilt tooling on the spines, front and back boards, and on the interior sides of the boards. The Emerson family seal appears on all interior sides of the front boards with the family name inscribed below in gilt tooling. Endpapers of green silk, deckle edges, and gilt top edges. Interior pages are mostly clean, with some slight foxing and stains consistent with age.
The volumes are housed in custom-made green slipcases, which feature black and white photographs of the author on the sides.