London: Faber and Faber, . Large octavo. Brown paper boards, lettered in yellow, top edge stained brown, fore and bottom edges untrimmed. Characteristic offsetting from the free endsheets to the adjacent leaves of the prelims to the text block, some rubbing at extreme foretips and spine ends, hairline cracks (ca. 4.5 cm) at crown and toe of the joints, otherwise near fine. Enclosed in a handsome half morocco slipcase and cloth chemise. Item #WRCLIT83327
A highly unusual and interesting copy of the trade issue of the British edition, which saw formal publication on the same day as the U.S. trade edition from Viking, and the limited edition bearing Faber and Viking's joint imprint. This copy is bound in paper boards replicating exactly the outer panels of the dust jacket of the UK trade printing. Additionally, the trim size is virtually identical to that of the ordinary clothbound trade copies (248 x 155 x 35mm - the 155mm an average allowing for the variations inherent in the untrimmed fore-edges). The pastedowns and conjugate free endsheets match the paper stock utilized for the endsheets of the clothbound copies -- paper stock which is at considerable variance from the stock of the textblock. Inevitably, as is the case of many, if not all copies of the trade edition, there has been offset interaction between the free endsheets and the recto of the preliminary blank and the verso of the final text leaf in the form of offset darkening. All evidence points toward this binding being a contemporary product undertaken or overseen by Faber in the course of the normal publication process. We've been unable to locate another example in the course of checking the primary references, a number of collection, exhibition and sale catalogues, and the online catalogues of several of the most likely institutional catalogues. The first printing of the Faber edition included 3400 copies, of which 950 copies in sheets were destroyed. The out-of-the-ordinary binding on this copy suggests a copy for early review, or perhaps a copy for advance sales or trade show purposes. Review copies in special format for both the US and the UK editions of FINNEGANS WAKE are scarce, those for the US edition most often taking the form of folded and gathered signatures, and those for the UK often being copies in the normal cloth binding with a perforated stamp in the lower margin of the terminal text leaf: "Complimentary [/] Copy [/] Not for Sale." "If Finnegans Wake is a key book, it is a key which needs a key. The Wake reminds me of the unfinished obelisk which lies on its side at Assuan, yet it has passages of unearthly beauty (particularly the last page) and huge comic scenes" - Connolly. MODERN MOVEMENT 87. SLOCUM & CAHOON A47.