EDITH WHARTON'S COPIES WITH HER BOOKPLATE IN EACH VOLUME.
COMPLETE IN TWO VOLUMES (Volumes 3 & 4 of Dostoevsky's 22 VOLUME Samtliche Werke). xv, , 646, ; , 551,  printed pages. Wharton's decoratively engraved bookplates on the front paste-down endpaper of both volumes. Half-title of volume two with pencilled price (?) and the letters "a. R." near the top edge. Blue silk ribbon bookmarks. Top edges blue. Pages very lightly and evenly toned. 13.5 x 19 cm. Original dark blue cloth. Gilt lettering on spines and upper covers together with proprietory vignette sunburst designs. Sporadic light stains, largely only affecting the rear board of the second volume. Wharton was brought up with two or more German governesses, one of whom "I took happy rambles in the pine-forests, and learned from her to make wild-flower garlands, to knit and to tat, and to practise (for the only time in my life) other Gretchenish arts. She also taught me (out of the New Testament) how to read German". In her autobiography Wharton said "But for the wisdom of Fraulein Bahlmann, my beloved German teacher, who saw which way my fancy turned, and fed it with all the wealth of German literature, from the Minnesingers to Heine--but for this, and the leave to range in my father's library, my mind would have starved at the age when the mental muscles are most in need of feeding...before me stretched the wide expanse of the classics, English, French and German, and into that sea of wonders I plunged at will". The bookplates are from Edith Wharton's Pavillon Colombe, that dates her ownership from her purchase of that house in1919 to her death there in 1937. It is unlikely that the inscription "a.R." marked the acquisition of these books from Theodore Roosevelt's library (his second wife was Wharton's distant cousin) after his death (1919) via his son or stepdaughter (Archibald Roosevelt, born 1894, and Alice Roosevelt born 1884), but I can think of no other connections with those two initials, and some books from the Roosevelt library did go to Wharton at this time. Wharton's literary books were left to Sir Kenneth Clark in trust for his son Colin, where they made their way via Maggs & George Ramsden (booksellers) to the Mount, the writer's estate in Lenox, Mass., which Wharton designed, built and reluctantly left in 1911. The Catalogue of Edith Wharton's Library only records five Dostoevsky titles, all in French. Of the other great Russian writers there is only one volume catalogued that was published in German, Der Kosaken by Tolstoy, 1910. Provenance: purchased from George Jeffery, bookdealer, Farringdon Road in 1993.