New York: Cassell Publishing Co., 1892. First American edition. Published simultaneously with the British Unwin edition, using the same sheets, but with a canceled title page. Part of the Children's Library Series. Original blue floral-decorated white cloth, recased with a slight loss to the cloth at the base of the spine; internally in excellent condition. Presenting Near Fine overall. Only one other copy of this Cassell imprint is currently available (the VG+ Bradley Martin copy for $9500) and only one appears in the recent auction record, Christies 2005; the American issue is decidedly scarce.
Originally appearing in an Italian children's magazine in 1881, La Storia di un Burattino was more than an amusing, yet dark, tale for Italian children. Written by the political activist, Carlo Collodi, the story of Pinocchio was meant to aide in the reunification of Italy after the Napoleonic Wars had splintered the Italian states and devastated any sense of national identity. With the struggle to rebuild the Italian nation at hand, Collodi, worked to translate and create educational children’s literature to create a vision of unification for the people. His story of Pinocchio was quite unlike the sanitized Disney version that most children grew up watching. The original story depicts an unsympathetic "rogue" in the carpenter, Geppetto, who defied his father's wishes, eschewed education, and fell easily into temptation by the fox and the cat. And, spoiler alert, it ended with Pinocchio's death at the hand of his tempters, providing a warning to those children who were not obedient to their parents or striving towards good moral behavior. When the stories were compiled and published as a book in 1883, titled Le avventure di Pinocchio, they were given a more upbeat ending, where Pinocchio realizes his wrongdoings, corrects his behavior, and ultimately transforms into a real boy. Due to the story's success in Italy, Mary Alice Murray translated this first English edition of the story in 1892.
"Almost nothing else in children’s literature equals Pinocchio for wildness of invention” (Humphrey Carpenter & Mari Prichard: The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature). Near Fine (Item #1567)