Meditations in Motley. A Bundle of Paper Imbued with the Sobriety of Midnight
Boston: The Arena Publishing Company, 1894. From the Bart Auerbach Collection. 8vo. Original light green cloth, stamped in gilt. A trifle soiled, a very good to fine copy. Item #409401
First edition. A marvelous association copy of Harte's only book, inscribed by him on the front free endpaper to the Boston publisher Richard Gorham Badger. The inscription, dated March 31, 1897, totals about 85 words and fills nearly the full page. In addition, filling the half-title, Harte has written a nearly 200-word "Note to the Casual Reader of 1997," a time when he assumes the reader will be more receptive to his essays (instead of forgetting him completely, which seems to be the case). Further, Harte has revised the imprint on the title-page, has written a quote from 'Hamlet' on the following leaf recto, and has added a 60-word note at the end of the preface.
The British expatriate Harte was born in 1868, met Walter Pater (who became a mentor) in 1884, and came to America in 1890; he died in 1899. He was very much a part of the American Nineties (Beer's "Marvel Decade"), establishing 'The Fly Leaf' (which ran for five issues 1895-1896), editing 'The Lotus' for a year (1896-1897), and contributing to other little magazines. (BA).