Lot 68 of 302:
George Eliot's Agatha - Thomas Wise forgery  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$450
$300 - $500

Agatha - Thomas Wise forgery

Eliot, George


Trubner & Co.



16pp. Self-wrappers, unstitched as issued; housed in brown folding cloth chemise lettered in gilt. 

This edition of Agatha is a fraudulent reprint of a true rarity. George Eliot wrote this poem after a visit to a peasant's cottage at St. Märgen in the summer of 1868, and it was first published in America, in The Atlantic Monthly, in August 1869. To protect the British copyright, a small number of copies were printed in London in pamphlet form. This is one of only a handful of genuine titles forged by Wise, whose normal method was to invent a plausible but non-existent first edition. The forgery may be easily identified by the presence of a comma after the word "behind" on page 11, line 16, as is present here. Scarce. 

Thomas James Wise (1859-1937) was a renowned English book collector, bibliographer, editor, and, as it turned out, forger. Wise wrote many authoritative bibliographies of nineteenth century poets, including Browning, Tennyson, and Swinburne. Wise also worked as an agent to other book collectors helping to find works, especially noted first editions, to purchase for their collections. During the course of constructing his bibliographies, Wise would discover a previously unknown first edition of a popular poem or work. In 1934, after an extensive investigation, John W. Carter and Henry Graham Pollard published their book, An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets, claiming that dozens of these "discoveries" of Wise were in fact counterfeits

Lot Amendments

General light wear to outer chemise, with old catalog entry mounted to inner front flap; faint spotting and some finger soiling to wrappers, some creasing at top edge of front wrapper; very good.

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