Poems Poems Poems Poems Poems

London: Smith, Elder and Co.. 1846 [1848].

Second issue. 8vo. 170x117mm. pp. iv, 165, [1], errata slip, 16 (Smith, Elder catalogue dated May 1848). Collates in accordance with the first issue save for the addition of the Smith, Elder catalogue which is only "occasionally bound in" and not present in most copies (Smith). Does not contain the advertisement for "Prose Fictions" which is present in most second issues. Very dark bluish green vertically ribbed cloth. Upper and lower covers stamped in blind with a double border of a thin line inside a thicker one. Border encloses a decorative geometrical strapwork design and, stamped in gilt, the title and authors' names and the price 4/-. Pale yellow endpapers. Spine is stamped in blind bands and gold lettering, with full stops, not commas after each author's names and the ampersand (&) not the word 'AND', confirming that this is a first issue Aylott and Jones binding to which Smith Elder added the spine lettering and decoration. Rebacked with the original spine laid down, corners lightly bumped. Title page has ownership inscription of "James Taylor" at the top right corner. An excellent copy of a very early example of the Smith Elder second issue. It is, essentially, the first issue (in a first issue binding) with the cancel pasted on a stub of the Aylott and Jones title page and the addition of the May 1848 catalogue.

he publishing history of this, the Brontë sisters’ first work, is well known. First published by Aylott and Jones in 1846 in an edition of one thousand, only thirty nine copies of the Poems were sold. In September 1848, following the success of Jane Eyre Smith, Elder, sensing that interest in the Brontes’ work would now increase, bought the remaining 931 copies of the Poems and reissued it with their own cancel title page although keeping the 1846 date. The bibliographic history is more complex. Numerous variations of the second issue have been identified by Walter E. Smith. The earliest copies retained the original Aylott and Jones bindings (Smith refers simply to a “few” of these first issue binding) but with the addition of stamped bands and gilt lettering on the spine. This is what we have here. John Carter, in More Variant Bindings states that he has “seen only two copies of this and both have Smith Elder titles and May 1848 advertisements” (as here). In Variant Bindings, he describes it as “extremely rare”. The vast majority of copies of the second issue of the Poems have the familiar harp design on the upper cover. Accordingly, it is as close to the first issue as a Smith Elder second issue can be.

Walter E. Smith, The Brontë Sisters: A Bibliographical Catalogue. John Carter, Variant Bindings and More Variant Bindings