Lyrics of Lowly Life

London: Chapman and Hall, 1897.

Price: $3,500.00

Hardcover. First English edition. Introduction by William Dean Howells. Green cloth gilt. A little offsetting on the front fly, corners a little bumped, near fine. Signed by Paul Laurence Dunbar, under which is written in another hand: "(The Author's Autograph) July 25, 1897. Oliver Morland with love from his old friends July N. & P. Impey. July 1897." Uncommon English edition of the author's first commercially published book, and his first book to be published in Great Britain. Oliver Morland was an author and the president of the London publisher Morland & Impey, Paul Impey was his Quaker business partner. This edition rarely found signed, this with an interesting association.

Item #457070

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Item #457070 Lyrics of Lowly Life. Paul Laurence DUNBAR.
Lyrics of Lowly Life

Paul Laurence Dunbar
birth name: Paul Laurence Dunbar
born: 6/27/1872
died: 2/9/1906
nationality: USA

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American author whose reputation rests upon his verse and short stories written in black dialect. He was the first black writer in the United States to attempt to support himself by writing and one of the first to attain national prominence. - Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature [As important as Dunbar was, the claim that he was the first black writer in the U.S. to attempt to support himself by writing ignores several journalists, as well as the much earlier poet George Moses Horton, and perhaps other fascinating and lesser known figures. - BTC]more

Collecting tips:

Dunbar's first two books Oak and Ivy (1892) and Majors and Minors (1895) were both self-published in Ohio while the author was working as an elevator operator, which occupation became the genesis for his poem "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." Both were reportedly issued in editions of 500 copies, both were issued in variant colors of cloth, both are fragile and hard to find in nice condition, and both are expensive. His first commercially published book of poetry Lyrics of Lowly Life (1896), was championed by, and has an introduction by William Dean Howells.

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