Every Tuesday Vicki at I’d Rather Be At the Beach hosts First Chapter, First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros, where we share the first paragraph or two of a book we are reading or thinking about reading soon.

Mine comes from Rare Books Uncovered: True Stories of Fantastic Finds in Unlikely Places by Rebecca Rego Barry.

Rare Books Uncovered

In 1952, Vincent Starrett posed a question in the Saturday Evening Post: “Have You a Tamerlane in Your Attic?”

Starrett, a Chicago newspaperman, author, and die-hard book collector, was referring to Edgar Allan Poe’s first book of poetry, a slender, self-published volume bound in paper wrappers called Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827). The title page credited only “A Bostonian” as its creator; Poe’s name was known only to the printer, Calvin F. S. Thomas. Reviewers and readers, however few there were, failed to immediately realize its merit, and the copies—some estimate fifty, others two hundred—were scattered to the four winds. After Poe published a second volume and his literary reputation began to rise, he made references to the earlier book, but his claim was doubted. By the time Poe died mysteriously in 1849, Tamerlane was virtually non-existent.


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