1902. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1902.
8vo, xiii, 504, (6, ads) pp. With 8 black and white illustrations by Arthur I. Keller. Original beige cloth titled in red and gilt and with design of holstered pistol intertwined with a lariat. Cloth slightly toned, backstrip with minor wear to foot and with decoration dulled, short (1cm) closed tear to half title, very good. A sound copy in a custom slipcase.
§ First edition of the seminal Western novel with ALS by the author laid in. The letter is written in French to Mr. R. D. Coxe (1p, 14 lines in ink, on printed stationery from The Inn, Brown’s Mills-in-the-Pines, New Jersey, dated in pencil April 1906, very good with a little abrasion to the blank verso from a previous mounting). Wister appears to be writing to another author though the recipient is unidentified: “To return and finish Les Paysans [presumably the Balzac novel], that is my hope - meanwhile your two books are on the desk. I waited to see you before I left but I am told you are resting. I take away very pleasant memories of our evening...”. Wister spent several years studying music in France before a life-changing visit to Wyoming made him an author. The Virginian was his most famous book: a tale of cowpunchers in Wyoming cattle country, generally regarded as the first cowboy novel and the book that defined a genre. The hero, tall and taciturn, morally incorruptible and quick on the draw, became the archetype of the cowboy ideal. Smith, American Fiction W-789. Item #110459