Uncle Silas

A Tale Of Bartram-Haugh

LE FANU, J. Sheridan

LE FANU, J. Sheridan Uncle Silas A Tale Of Bartram-Haugh

Richard Bentley, 1864.

First edition. Three volumes. 8vo. Half-titles present. Bound (possibly for the publisher) in contemporary quarter roan over pebble-grained cloth boards, the covers ruled in blind, the spine lettered and decorated gilt. All edges marbled. Marbled endpapers. Each volume housed in a later cloth slipcase. A very near fine set, the bindings very well-preserved with just a touch of rubbing to the head of the spines of the first two volumes. Generally clean internally, with sporadic light spotting.

The first edition of Le Fanu's most famous work and the first to gain the author widespread success. Its success is partly because it was, of its time, sui generis: it can be rightly viewed as a gothic novel, detective fiction, and supernatural thriller without strictly conforming to any of these genres. It is also an early example of what has become known as the 'locked room mystery'.
Elizabeth Bowen notes in 1947, "Uncle Silas was in advance of, not behind its time: it is not the last belated Gothic romance but the first (or among the first) of the psychological thrillers."
Its reception was instant and warm and its influence long lasting, with Bram Stoker, Conan Doyle and M. R. James all acknowledging the influence of Le Fanu's work on their own. James famously commenting, "[He] succeeds in inspiring a mysterious terror better than any other writer... I do not think that there are better ghost stories anywhere than the best of Le Fanu's."
Published in an edition of just 500 copies, the first edition has always been rare in commerce. Only three copies appear to have been sold at auction in the last 70 years.
The binding, whilst unsigned, bears many of the hallmarks of a publisher's special binding. We have been unable to find conclusive evidence that such a binding was issued by the publishers, but a copy in a binding very similar to this was sold at Sotheby's in 1949.

Stock ID: 42809

£18,500.00

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