Doubleday, Page and Company. New York. 1910, 1910.
FIRST SEPARATE EDITION (U. S). IN RARE PUBLISHERS DELUX IMITATION LEATHER BINDING. Precedes the first U.K separate edition by 4 years. Oblong 8vo. (4.4 x 6.4 inches). 8 double leaves, uncut at the top. Each double leaf has a green rule and dot border, the text printed in black with green initial letters. Half title has "IF" printed in green within an ornamental black panel, the same as the design stamped onto the front board, with the addition of the author's name. This version with the green colour printing is Richards' variant a. The Publishers note on page 5 appears in four different variants, with priority unknown, and this copy has variant ii. Internally a bright and clean copy. In the very rare original delux publishers dark red imitation morocco leather binding with gilt ruling and lettering to the front panel (Richards binding variant ii). Some wear to the surface of the binding and the gilt on the front board is a little dulled, as usual, but overall this is a very good and attractive copy of this rare little book. This imitation leather bound issue is by far the rarest of the three variant bindings published. In over 30 years of dealing in English Literature and handling many dozens of copies of this edition in the paper covered boards and 15 copies in the delux green leather, this is only the sixth time I have come across a copy in this red variant binding. Published (probably November 1910) very shortly after the Poem first appeared in the book Rewards and Fairies (October 1910), this separate publication was issued to capitalise on the huge, and instant, popularity of what has become Kipling's most enduring work of verse. A poll taken by the BBC in the UK in 2005 voted it as Britain's favourite Poem, poling twice as many votes as the number 2 choice, Lord Tennyson's The Lady of Shallot. Originally written in 1895, IF was inspired by the actions of Dr. Leander Starr Jameson, a British Officer whose forces were defeated by the Boers in 1895, but who was portrayed as a victorious hero by the British press, the poem is a powerful masterclass in maintaining the British stiff upper lip. ---- David Alan Richards. Rudyard Kipling. A bibliography. A244. Binding variant ii. Text Variants ii, a.