Hard Cover. New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1846. First Edition. Very Good.
First edition, first printing. Two parts bound in one volume. Bound in three-quarter contemporary green morocco, over marbled boards, spine decorated and lettered in gilt, all edges marbled, marbled endpapers. Some rubbing and wear to spine ends and corners, edges rubbed along spine, small former owner pencil signature to first blank. A very good copy. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1846 collection of short stories Mosses from an Old Manse uses allegory to illustrate the dark side of human nature and to critique Puritanism. The collection made a lasting impression on author Herman Melville, who took a break from his work on Moby Dick to write a review praising the work for its masterful mix of light and dark: “You may be witched by his sunlight,—transported by the bright gildings in the skies he builds over you; but there is the blackness of darkness beyond; and even his bright gildings but fringe and play upon the edges of thunder-clouds.” The anti-Puritan themes seen in Mosses from an Old Manse appear again in Hawthorne’s later work, notably in The Scarlet Letter which was published four years later in 1850.