The Harp of a Thousand Strings; or, Laughter for a Lifetime
New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, Publishers, . Good. Item #5907
New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, Publishers, . First Edition, Earliest Located Printing with all points present. Octavo; [viii] + 9-368pp + terminal 16pp of advertisements. Inserted frontispiece engraved in black and sepia, with tissue guard in place. Engravings by Avery throughout, reproducing originals by Phiz, Cruickshank, and many others. Olive drab pebbled cloth with blind-stamped eclectic floral trellis frame on both panels; gilded title with vignette on front panel; blind-stamped publisher’s monogram framed in shield on rear panel; gilded title and vignette on spine. Yellow endpapers. [BAL 7094]
Cloth darkened, with two camouflaged stains on front panel. Spine rolled; spine crown and foot frayed but complete; small, shallow wormhole about ½” from spine crown. All panel corners frayed. Textblock complete, but pp. 131-34, on a single conjugate leaf, torn out and reinserted; text unaffected. A lazy worm’s few chomps (restricted to a ¼” spot) at textblock fore-edge. One gathering loosened from lower stitches, but still sewn to block at top. Binding shaken overall with front hinge cracked after copyright page and preceding pages and board opening shakily but still secure; textblock cracked to lie flat at two favorite pieces.
Samuel Putnam Avery compiled this digest of stories, parodies, poems, and anecdotes—“one of the most popular collections of humor of the 19th century,” sayeth the BAL. “Sut Lovingood” stories by Harris are featured, but Avery pulled from many sources for a total of nearly 50 pieces. Included among them is the first appearance in book form of Lewis Carroll, with his piece, “Novelty and Romancement, A Broken Spell,” which Avery included without acknowledgment or payment to Carroll. A bit jabberwockish, that—but the story is undeniably funny.