Friday, 4 October 2013

More On The First Edition of Of Human Bondage - W. Somerset Maugham

cover of Of Human Bondage, W. Somerset Maugham first edition 1915
Of Human Bondage, W. Somerset Maugham
first edition 1915

Of Human Bondage (New York: Doran, 1915[1919])


A few months ago I wrote about the first edition of Of Human Bondage. I would like to update some information on the copy that I bought and described. I believe that collecting is an art, and it is a process that one learns to pick up more and more details.

Spine of Of Human Bondage, W. Somerset Maugham first edition 1915
Spine,
Of Human
Bondage
As can be observed in the photo, my copy has the title and the author's name blocked in black, and on the spine at the bottom the publisher's name, "DORAN." This is in fact a binding that is not described in Stott. The copy described by Stott has the title and author's name blocked in gold on the cover, and as for the spine, "GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY" is used instead. The rest of the description fits that of the first edition.

I have been checking different sellers' catalogue; most of the time it is simply listed as the first edition, second issue. One seller suggests that it can be a more economical binding due to wartime saving. Some copies are sold with other goodies, like a letter from Theodore Dreiser or a Maugham autograph, which raises the price sky high.

Without more information, I would tend to think that this is the first edition with a cheaper alternative binding. When I look at the other Doran editions of Maugham's books that I have, they are all printed with "DORAN" only on the spine, except in this one. Now, Of Human Bondage was the first book that Maugham published with Doran; it could be then to mark a new author with the full company name, or it could be that it was the policy of the publishing house at that time to print its full name, or it could simply be a variation.

So if you are buying a first edition of Of Human Bondage, this would be something to keep in mind when considering the price you are going to pay.

Update: I found more information about this edition, which, in fact, is the first edition second issue, published by Doran in 1919. Do watch out when you are purchasing a first.


2 comments :

  1. I had, at one point, this same copy. There was a typo in the true first edition - I can't remember what page it was on. This is a 2nd printing perhaps, done in the same year. Still rare though.

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    1. Hi Michael,
      Thanks for reading my blog.
      The typo is on p. 257 in the true first. :-)

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