- New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Books, (1992).
- cloth, dust jacket.
- xiv, 317 pages.
- ISBN: 0938768298
Price: $10.00 other currencies
Order Nr. 105672
First edition. The book forgery of Thomas James Wise, disclosed in 1934 in John Carter and Graham Pollard's An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets, is perhaps the most notorious literary scandal of the 20th century. Wise, a bibliographer and book collector with the highest international reputation, was revealed to be the perpetrator of a stream of forgeries of minor works by major nineteenth-century authors which had appeared on the market from the 1880s onwards.
The sensational exposure of Wise led to further discoveries, most notably that he had acted not alone but in collusion with Harry Buxton Forman, the distinguished editor of Keats and Shelley. The extent of the crime was clearly wider and more complicated than had been supposed when the Enquiry was first published. Carter and Pollard were steadily compiling matter for a new edition of the book right up to their deaths in the mid-1970s. Their material passed to Nicolas Barker who, with John Collins, undertook to complete the work. They, in turn, discovered a mass of new facts: the forgeries began earlier than suspected, the problems of Tennyson's The New Timon and R. L. Stevenson's Ticonderoga were solved and, for the first time, an attempt was made to reconstruct the crime. There was, however, still more work to be done. In their prologue to A Sequel to An Enquiry, Barker and Collins concluded by stating "Finally, we have tried, well knowing that there is more to be discovered and much that may never be discoverable, to reconstruct the crime and the part each man played in it." Now, John Collins has written the final chapter in this account of one of the strangest and subtlest literary frauds ever attempted. The Two Forgers provides a detailed analysis of the lives and careers of Wise and Forman. It explains how they joined forces, traces the course of their conspiracy and provides a step-by-step account of the sensational unmasking of the plot. The biographical nature of this scholarly work provides a fresh new approach to these forgeries and is more readable than the detailed, empirical-facts approach of An Enquiry and A Sequel to An Enquiry. In addition, The Two Forgers is profusely illustrated throughout and contains more of the correspondence between Wise and Forman, thereby supplementing the letters reproduced in A Sequel. Fine copy.Loosely inserted in a commorative bookplate of William Sihler. From the private reference library of Dorothy Sloan with a commemorative bookplate loosely inserted.