Misunderstood. Florence Montgomery.


London: Richard Bentley, 1869. First edition, second issue, with the cancel title, as usual., of the first English work that Vladimir Nabokov recalled hearing read. Nabokov said that the fate of its hero, Humphrey “used to bring a more specialized lump to one’s throat than anything in Dickens or Daudet.”. Title-page a cancel, with “All rights reserved” below the imprint. First few leaves foxed. Presentation copy, inscreibed: “Pussie Hobhouse with Florence Montgomery’s love 56 Cadogan Place May 15th 1870.” Later ownership signature on front free endpaper. A very good copy. Contemporary diced calf, nicely rebacked in calf, gilt spine with burgundy morocco label, marbled edges. Octavo. vi, 321, [1, ads] pp. Item #15351

“Montgomery's breakthrough was with her third work, Misunderstood (1869), whose preface states (p. v): ‘The following is not a child's story. It is intended for those who are interested in children.’ It is the story of Humphrey Duncombe, whose widowed father thinks him naughty and thoughtless, but whose high spirits conceal deep thoughts and yearning for the love of the father and the dead mother. There is just time for the father to appreciate how wrong he has been before the boy's heart-rending death. This book remained in print throughout her life, and her later fiction appeared as ‘by the author of Misunderstood’. A notorious tear-jerker, it invites the reader to identify with the neglected child who makes the grown-ups feel guilty. Such stories, Montgomery made clear in the preface to Thrown together (2 vols., 1872), were not suitable for children to read as she was obliged ‘to side, as it were, with the children against the parents’” (Oxford DNB).

OCLC records only the Sadleir copy in North America.

Price: $600.00

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