London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1824. First edition. Hardcover. Very good. Item #22201 .
8vo. (4), 390pp. Nineteenth century binding of half morocco; spine in six compartments, gilt title and bands, marbled paper boards and endpapers. Bookplate of Holcombe Ingleby. Publication date of MDCCCXXIV at foot of title page erased and replaced by '1824' in manuscript pencil, leaving a paper thin in the area of the erasure, else this is a very good copy with only light rubbing to the binding and sunning to the spine, and light soil. Engraved frontispiece of a page of the manuscript.
Sometimes considered one of Scotland's greatest books, it was first printed in 1824 in an edition of 1000 copies. Sales were not good; reports indicate that fewer than 300 copies actually sold. In 1828 the leftover sheets were reissued with a new title "'The Suicide's Grave' or, Memoirs and Confessions of a Sinner. Edited by J. Hogg." In 1837 a severely bowdlerized version appeared in Volume 5 of "Tales & Sketches by the Ettrick Shepherd." It was not until 1895 that another unexpurgated version was published.
This odd, obscure little book has been classified variously as a psychological mystery, a gothic novel, a satire and a duality of man novel. It is believed that Robert Louis Stevenson read this book in 1881 just before he wrote “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” in 1886. In the days of Freudian literary criticism it was a darling of English professors.
It is unfortunate that some moron has aggressively erased the Roman Numeral date of MDCCCXXIV on the title page and written 1824 in pencil. In all respects this book comports with the points of a first edition of a scarce title.