Poems. (Privately Printed.), First Trial Book (Huntington Library copy


Production Description

Document Title: Poems. (Privately Printed.)
Author: DGR
Printer: Strangeways and Walden
City of publication: London
Date of publication: 1869 October 3
Pre-Publication Information: This is a copy of the First Trial Book.
Pagination: [i-iv], pp [1]-134, 138, 135-137, 139-166, 176-199, [200-201]
Authorization: DGR
Collation: [A] 3, B - P 8, R 2, cancel leaf, R 5, S 6
Note on Publication: Page 178 here is an added leaf, and is unnumbered. Page 138 appears to have been wrongly imposed, and is out of sequence. Also bound up with this trial book is a complete copy of the Exhumation Proofs paginated [1]-67.
Corrector: printer


Current Location: The Huntington Library
Catalog Number: 32162
Note: Purchased at the Butler sale, 10 April 1922, lot 108.

Physical Description

Cover: bound in blue-green cloth cover and slipcase
Point: 8 point
Dimensions of Document: crown octavo, 16 x 12.5 cm


Scholarly Commentary


This is the publisher's copy of the first state of First Trial Book, printed about 3 October 1869. Lewis calls it Proof State 6 ( Lewis 1995, 186). But this copy in fact antedates Lewis's Proof State 6, as the imposition error at p. 138 indicates (as does the misprinting of signature M as a duplicate signature L, an error here hand-corrected by the printer). These errors in printing do not, however, qualify to name this a distinct state of the printing process. It is simply an early variant form of the first state. This copy was the publisher's copy of record; F. S. Ellis's signature and note appear on the front flyleaf.

There are several hand corrections (non-autograph) in these proofs, evidently made by Ellis or his printer. Most involve pagination. The pagination of the Trial Book is not always continuous—many versos are blank and assume no pagination number (though many others do). Also, this copy of the proofs lacks signature Q.

These Trial Book proofs are bound up with a perfect copy of the Exhumation Proofs.

Printing History

The First Trial Book is the fourth integral set of prepublication printings toward the work that would eventually appear as the Poems of 1870. Its printing in this the first state of the Trial Book was completed on or just before 3 October, but revisions made therein were quickly incoporated into the second state. The peculiar character of this particular set of proofs—they clearly represent a state that is prior to any of the other First Trial Book printings—might argue that this document should be designated as a separate printing, and hence of distinguishing three rather than two states of the First Trial Book. We think, however, that the variants in this copy do not justify such a designation.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1