New York: Appleton, 1869. First Edition. cloth. 1st edition in English, preceding all. A tour de force, from Hugo’s pen, written in the last year of his exile. Precedes the Dana Estes edition, the Caldwell edition, the London edition, and all the others. Original grass green cloth, 1 of 3 colors published concurrently. Pale yellow endpapers, and though also bound with coated yellow endpapers there is no priority and there is no doubt that our book was issued with these endpapers. A few fox marks to the prelims, but the text is clean, 2 specks of wear at the tips, 2 small cloth spots, else near fine, and reasonably bright, outstanding condition for this title. Scarce this nice, despite the low price. Near fine. Item #83
A whirlwind indictment of the aristocracy, a satire of sorts, but outwardly a love story, woven through with horror, nearly from the outset. The second chapter, fairly faithfully, illuminates the Comprachicos, a secret, nomadic, criminal society that roamed Europe, financed largely by the extorted purchase of babies, their satirical disfigurement by villainous surgeons (stunted growth, deformed faces, malformed bones), their training as mountebanks, and finally, their sale (typically after reaching maturity), to Lords (as court fools or pages), or to traveling sideshows (circuses of the grotesque).