Royal binding


Smith, Charlotte

(London, 1795)

3 vols. 1st edition. A fine and gleaming set (positively torrid) in early, 19th century green cloth, gilt spines (ca. 1835). Bound (a royal binding) for The Hanover Family Library with the Hanover Arms, the King of England’s (William IV’s) own, embossed in blind (2 1/2” X 4”) on the 3 front covers. A complete copy with all 3 half–titles, the inserted errata leaves in vol. I and vol. II, and all the blanks. Is this the best copy in the world or what ?


Here is the gothic grown up, a severe and serious turn of these romances, with Smith’s darkest swipe at the perils of marriage, and featuring a notable advance on the standard gothic heroine, quiet, steadfast, and sensitive, a naturalist who almost parallels Charlotte Smith herself. But youth is just life as yet untouched by tragedy, so she (Rosalie) ignores the symbolistic “check engine light” and gets herself terrorized untraditionally, in a traditional horror plotline with the customary structured panic, clandestine marriages, and alpine settings, here crisply depicted, leaving behind the narcolepsy inducing pattern of earlier novels in the genre, with their endless pages of protracted and descriptive poetical landscapes, and scenic prose, more horrid than the events set within them (like some late 18th century parallel to progressive pop band covers of Bobby Vinton’s Greatest Hits). And it is the gravity of Montalbert’s events that unravel another lesson from the tao of the octopus. Fear not only anticipates misfortunes that never happen, it also precipitates some that would otherwise not have happened.