Edward E[verett] Hale - Hands Off - J. Stilman Smith, 1895, Signed First Edition.


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Code: 10151

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Boston, J. Stilman Smith, 1895. First edition, first impression. Hardback. A fine copy. Three important things of note with this book. Firstly, the book's inscribed by the author. Secondly, the condition is fantastic. The book's in it's jacket which is fine, with trivial tanning to the spine and a 2mm tear to the lower edge of the jacket. Finally, there's a case for the importance of this book. The story was first published in 1881 in Harper's and involves travelling back in time to alter events in the future. The method of time travel is not mechanical, as in Wells' book, so doesn't carry the weight of that book in its place in the sf canon. Rather, the protagonist just operates beyond the restraints of time and space. This is little different to supernatural methods or dream-based backward time travel of earlier books. That said, I know of only a few earlier stories in English where the altering of historic events have future rammifications. Hawthorne's 'P's Correspondence' deals with literary lives, with Byron dying later for example; the time line is attributed to madness however, or at least an alternative reality. The rammifications of the time travel in Disraeli's Tale of Alroy don't seem to be as obvious though, and it may even be argued that the story is a secret rather than alternative history. In the present book, Joseph is not sold into Egyptian slavery and the Phoenicians thus take over the the Mediterranean. I wouldn't like to suggest that this is the earliest story of alternative history, but it's one of the earliest in the English language, and this is the first book edition of that story. And it's in a 19th century dust jacket, and inscribed. So, there you go. [10151, Hyraxia Books].

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