The Hunter-Naturalist. Romance of Sporting; or, Wild Scenes and Wild Hunters. Nathaniel HAWTHORNE, WEBBER, HARLES, ILKINS.

The Hunter-Naturalist. Romance of Sporting; or, Wild Scenes and Wild Hunters.

Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co, 1852. Second edition, second printing. Large 8vo, 5 chromolithograph plates (4 by Alfred Jacob Miller), 1 steel-engraved plate, numerous wood-engraved illustrations, original black cloth, spine lettered in gilt, covers panelled in blind. First published in 1851, and notable as the first American work to contain chromolithographic illustrations, this second Lippincott printing [of the second 1852 edition] printed "Miller pinx't" underneath the plates after Alfred Jacob Miller. This same printing features a black line border in the margins around the text – Tyler, Ron, ed., Alfred Jacob Miller: Artist on the Oregon Trail, Fort Worth: Amon Carter Museum, p. 448. Howes W196. Skillfully re-backed with original spine laid down and gilt spine-lettering refreshed, light to moderate foxing to prelims, frontispiece (heavier on verso), and terminal leaves (few marginal foxmarks on plates), a very few leaves, with one or two short, closed marginal tears, otherwise a fine copy. "My cherished object in this undertaking is, to introduce within the general scope of Polite Literature, a popular Natural History: upon the production of which I have so brought to bear the latest discoveries of Science, in the application of mechanical forces to pictorial illustration, as to cheapen all their cost without any deterioration of artistic value; and bring the essential spirit of what have been heretofore as sealed books, from their excessive costliness, within the reach of the People." (page 3). Item #32385

Presentation copy, inscribed by the author to Nathaniel Hawthorne on the front free endpaper: "To Nathaniel Hawthorne / by the author / C. W. Webber" and bearing Hawthorne's presentation to his English friend Henry Arthur Bright beneath: "Mr H. A. Bright, / from Nathl Hawthorne." Webber had published a favorable review of Mosses from an Old Manse in the American Whig Review (Sept. 1846), and Hawthorne praised The Hunter-Naturalist in the Boston Daily Advertiser (10 Dec. 1851), while privately expressing his misgivings: “I doubt whether the poor fellow succeeds, after all. His object is not definite enough for the public comprehension -- at any rate, he does not pursue it definitely. I fear he will find no niche to put himself into -- but I am glad that I have done this very little mite for him and his wife." (Hawthorne to E. P. Whipple, 7 Dec. 1851). He had earlier in 1848 sent to Webber the manuscript of “Ethan Brand” writing him that it was: “wrenched and torn … out of my miserable brain…the fragment of an idea, like a tooth ill-drawn, leaving the rest to torture me.”

Hawthorne’s biographer Edwin Haviland Miller comments on Hawthorne’s friendship with Bright: “Hawthorne formed close friendships during the English years with two men to whom he “much grieved to bid farewell” – Henry A. Bright and, above all, Francis Bennoch. They were businessmen and literary enthusiasts of the kind the nineteenth century seemed to breed. Bright, a young man of twenty-two, came to Concord in 1852 with a letter of introduction from Longfellow. Emerson accompanied Bright to the Wayside, where Emerson talked too much and Hawthorne not at all, to the bewilderment of the English writer who had no way of knowing that both men behaved according to fixed patterns in their uncomfortable relationship. In Liverpool, Bright became acquainted with another Hawthorne, friendly, verbal, eager to enter sparring bouts. As Sophie observed, Bright “is one of Mr. Hawthorne’s enthusiastic lovers and they fight in love and honor all the time.” Such was Hawthorne’s affection that he presented the manuscript of The Marble Faun to him. In Our Old Home Hawthorne recalled the association in an affectionate passage: “It would gratify my cherished remembrance of this dear friend, if I could manage, without offending him, or letting the public know it, to introduce his name upon my page. Bright was the illumination of my dusky little apartment, as often as he made his appearance there!” Bright reciprocated: “It is one of the best things in my life to have made a friend of you.” – pp. 419-420. Edwin Haviland Miller, Salem Is My Dwelling Place. A Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, (1991).

Price: $17,500.00

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