[ Adah Menken, American actress and poet. ] Copy of her book 'Infelicia by Adah Isaacs Menken', illus. Alfred Concanen, dedicated to Charles Dickens, with facsimile letter of his. With bookplate and inscription of Lady Alda Hoare of Stourhead.

Author: 
Adah Isaacs Menken [ Adah Menken ]; Alfred Concanen; Lady Alda Hoare [ born Weston ], wife of Sir Henry Hoare of Stourhead [ Charles Dickens ]
Publication details: 
'1868. London. Paris. New York.'
£25.00
SKU: 20602

The present collection of 31 poems, Menken's only book, was published a few days after her death. Menken was heavily influenced by Walt Whitman, and has been claimed to be the first poet and the only woman to be his follower (although at the time the New York Times reported that Whitman had disassociated himself from her work). The present copy is [8] + 142pp., 12mo. (Prelims numbered to v.) Frontispiece portrait of Menken, and reduced facsimile of a letter to her from Charles Dickens on the reverse of the dedication leaf. Dedication reads 'TO | CHARLES DICKENS.' A total of 42 vignettes by Concanen, comprising one at the head of each of the 31 poems, others at the end of ten of the poems, and one on the final page. In black morocco binding, with facsimiles of the book's title and Menken's signature stamped in gilt on the front and back covers. Marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Internally tight with slight spotting to prelims. In worn and damaged binding: rebacked, with front hinge sprung and rear hinge repaired internally. Hoare's bookplate (portrait of her in her library with a hound) on front free endpaper, with her ownership inscription on its reverse: 'Alda Hoare | Stourhead | Wilts | Wedy. Feby. 15th. 1905.' A flyleaf carries a presentation inscription 'To Miss G. S. R.', 'From F. J. J.' dated September 1869, with four-line manuscript poem. Marking in pencil throughout. Two newspaper cuttings relating to Menken, both from 'T. P.'s Weekly', 1909, tipped in at the back of the volume. See Gregory Eiselein's introduction to his 2002 edition of 'Infelicia and Other Writings'.