Alexander Harris & Nathaniel Hawthorne


Australiana and Americana: Two volumes (1851-1852), very scarce bound together, among the earliest publications of George Routledge and Co.


Volume bound in ¼ brown leather, binding tight, leather corners, lozenge pattern on spine with gilt rules and raised bands, gilt on black leather titles, marbled (combed) paper boards slightly abraded, a little fraying at edges, faded marbled edges of text pages, 616 pages in total plus four blank leaves, early owner’s signature on flyleaf, pencil notes by early English bookseller on inside front cover. The binding appears to be original. In 1851 the London bookseller George Routledge, with his brother-in-law, established the publishing firm George Routledge and Co., which in 1912 became Routledge & Kegan Paul; today, under its many imprints, it is one of the world’s leading academic publishers.

Alexander Harris, Martin Beck: Or, The Story of an Australian Settler by Alexander Harris, author of “Settlers and Convicts”.

London: G. Routledge and Co., Farringdon Street, 1852, two blank leaves preceding Title page, Preface, Contents [xii], Main text 368 pages, XXXIX Chapters, title page spotted, a few early pages very lightly foxed, remainder of text very lightly browned, clean internally. Savill & Edwards, Printers, Chandos-street, Covent-garden.  A very good copy.

Martin Beck (Routledge, London, 1852) is the first single-volume edition of Harris’s The Emigrant Family, or The Story of an Australian Settler, which was first published in three volumes in London in 1849 and reissued in 1850; it went into a second edition under the name of its villain, Martin Beck (London, 1852). Charlotte Brontë thought it had merit as a contemporary novel and a guide to migrants. With its detailed descriptions of contemporary life, it is an important work of colonial fiction and a significant social history resource.

Bound with:

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables: A Romance. 

London: George Routledge and Co., Soho Square, 1851. Title page faces page 368, the final page of Alexander Harris’s Martin Beck; 248 pages, XXI Chapters, Savill & Edwards, Printers, 4, Chandos-street, Covent-garden. Internally clean and bright, last text page and two blank leaves following lightly foxed.

Routledge’s 1851 London edition of Hawthorne’s Gothic romance The House of the Seven Gables, the third English edition, was published within two months of the novel’s first appearance in the U.S. in April 1851. It followed Hawthorne’s magnum opus The Scarlet Letter: A Romance, first published in 1850. The poet and critic James Russell Lowell considered The House of the Seven Gables the better book, describing it as ‘the most valuable contribution to New England history’.