Boston: James R. Osgood, 1877. First Edition. Original terra cotta cloth, stamped in black and gold. Endpapers printed in red with publisher's advertisements. This is Blanck's first binding state, with the JRO & CO monogram on the front of the cover. Each of these two sketches first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, A True Story purporting to be the true story of a former slave, November 1874; Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in June 1876. The first book appearance of A True Story was in Sketches New and Old, 1875. This tiny pocket book was issued in Osgood's popular Vest-Pocket Series. Housed in a custom clamshell.
A Near Fine copy overall, spine very slightly cocked and a bookseller's blindstamp on the front end paper. Twain invested years of work into this rare little book. Composed of two short stories originally published separately, “A True Story” is the heart-wrenching tale of a slave family separated on the auction block. Twain revised the story endlessly, in an attempt to make the African American dialect feel authentic. “A Recent Carnival...” is based on the premise that a man who kills his conscience is joyously liberated. Along with his masterpieces, this short work illustrates Twain’s social conscience, his skill as a storyteller and his use of humor.
BAL 3373. Near Fine (Item #2419)