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    Description

    [Anonymous; James Malcolm Rymer, presumed]. Varney, the Vampyre: Or, The Feast of Blood. A Romance. London: E. Lloyd, [1847]. First edition in book form. Octavo. Title page, [1, blank], [1, preface], [1, blank], 868 pages; actually [876] pages, issue 74 mislabeled as issue 73 and repeating page numbers 577-584. Printed double column. Illustrated with wood-engraved chapter initials and text illustrations. Half calf over marbled boards, spine stamped in gilt. Corners bumped, moderate edgewear with boards showing through, joints starting rubbed and worn. Cream endpapers; somewhat foxed and soiled, penciled bookseller's notations to front free endpaper recto, Internally generally clean, edges sprinkled; issue 73 (actually 74) number corrected in pencil, somewhat foxed and soiled, text block edges toned with minor wear. Very good.

    One of the most famous Victorian "penny dreadfuls" and rare in this edition, published initially as 109 weekly issues and bound here into one volume with a general title page and preface by the anonymous author (dated "Sep. 1847"). Though not the first vampire in English fiction, Varney still forms the basis for a number of tropes that would go on to define the lore, including his supernatural strength, powers of hypnosis, and sharp, elongated fangs leaving two puncture marks on the neck of his victims. Bleiler, Barron, and present bookseller notations firmly attribute the work to J. M. Rymer, a frequent contributor to G. W. M. Reynold's Miscellany and author of Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf, which is stylistically similar to this title.

    Bleiler, Supernatural, 1629; Summers, Gothic, page 543. From the Gary Munson Collection


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