19th century literature

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19th century literature

Benson (E.F.) The Rubicon


London, Methuen, 1894.

First edition, first printing. 2 vols. 8vo. Original burgundy cloth lettered in gilt.

The true first edition of the second work by Mapp & Lucia creator E.F. Benson. We can trace no copies of the first edition at auction or in commerce, and only one copy clearly recorded in WorldCat (the British Library only has the Tauchnitz edition published the same year). This is the first printing, in two volumes and with the advertisements dated 'October 1893' and only listing Benson's first book, Dodo. Unfortunately, the work was not well received or commercially successful, despite publisher Methuen's best efforts, which included reprinting the work in one volume with spurious statements suggesting the books was so popular it had been through multiple impressions to meet demand... The story concerns Eva Grampton, who accepts a marriage proposal from the young aesthete Lord Hayes. When Eva meets the handsome Reggie, however, she begins to regret her decision...


A Modern Grotesque
London, Methuen, 1907.

Fifth edition. Small 8vo. Original read cloth. Dust-jacket, priced 2/-.

A rare jacketed edition of this intriguing insight into the nature of English fin-de-siecle grotesquery, and in particular the role of the then "modern woman". The author was widely regarded as one of the leading writers of fiction in the English-speaking world at the time, but has become somewhat forgotten in the mists of time it seems.


London, Ward & Lock, [?1860].

?First UK edition, possibly first book edition. 8vo. Contemporary half calf.

A hugely popular novel at the time of publication, originally serialised in The New York Ledger in 1859. The story centers on Capitola Black, a playful and audacious orphan girl who, after a series of circumstances, comes to live with her wealthy but unloving uncle in Virginia. Capitola is a tomboyish and adventurous heroine, often dressed in male attire, and she manages to survive numerous threats from a sinister villain named Black Donald who has connections to her mysterious past. Notable for its unusual treatment of gender and race issues for the time, presenting a strong, independent female character as its protagonist and incorporating discussion of the abolitionist movement. Southworth's portrayal of Capitola was significant during a time when the women's suffrage movement was gaining momentum in America.

We can trace no copies of this particular edition, at auction or in institutions - a reference to an edition published by Ward & Lock can be found in Bent's Monthly Literary Advertiser for September 1859. The Fleet Street imprint here suggests the edition was at least printed prior to 1878.