The First American Edition of a Classic Gothic Novel

    [Francis Lathom]. The Midnight Bell. A German Story, Founded on Incidents in Real Life. Philadelphia: Printed by James Carey, 1799.

    First American edition. Three twelvemo volumes in one (6.625 x 4 inches; 168 x 101 mm.). 273, [1, blank], [1, ads], [1, blank] pages. Half-title, and sectional titles for each volume.

    Contemporary full sheep, smooth spine with remnants of gilt rules and manuscript title written in ink, board edges with gilt remnants. Near-contemporary ownership inscription of Eliza Henderson to title page; later owner's inscription to front free pastedown. Henderson's marginalia to B6r. Some wear to board extremities, as is typical of sheep from this period. Free endpapers perished. Uniform toning throughout, with light foxing, primarily to margins. Occasional light spotting, with heavier instances of spotting to lower portions of signatures Q and R. A three-inch tear to Z6, affecting several lines of text, but with no loss to text. The first volume (A1-H4) standing proud. Overall a very good copy.

    A venerable copy of the first American edition of Lathom's Midnight Bell, a popular Gothic novel first published in Britain in 1798, and perhaps best-known as one of the seven "horrid" novels lampooned by Jane Austen in chapter six of Northanger Abbey.

    Shipton & Mooney 48919.

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    Auction Dates
    March, 2009
    6th-7th Friday-Saturday
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