Various places, various publishers, 1790-1819. First edition of the Morton title. 8vo, contemporary red half morocco, marbled boards, [x], 168; -443, ; -248; 28; 51, ; 179-194 pages. Frontispiece to the Bellegarde; the Morton Ouâbi lacks the frontispiece. Spine somewhat rubbed and darkened, edges a bit rubbed; some foxing throughout; a good, sound copy. Item #18792
With an early label for John A. Williams, Roxbury on the front paste-down; if Williams was responsible for assembling this volume of Variety, he certainly had diverse taste. The vampire comes to America: the issue of the Atheneum; or Spirit of the English Magazines includes from the April 1, 1819 number of the New Monthly Magazine the first vampire tale in English, both the “Anecdotes of Lord Byron” (with its account of the composition of this tale and Frankenstein in Geneva, as well as Shelley’s terror at the idea of a woman with eyes for bosoms) and the first appearance of Polidori’s Vampyre—published here (as it was in England before Byron repudiated it) as “The Vampyre, by Lord Byron.” Munroe and Francis published a separate edition of the Vampyre that year; Philadelphia, New York, and Albany editions also all appeared in 1819, priority for the first appearance in America unknown—though this serial appearance would certainly be a candidate. The Morton title is the important early American woman poet’s first book, a verse tale of Native American romance and bravery and a nice American counterpart to the Polidori as both embodying literary tropes that would survive the centuries; the frontispiece is often lacking as, alas, it is lacking here. The Frisbie address seems right at home in this nonce volume, with critical remarks about the moral role of the novel and of verse in forming character. BAL 14554 (Morton); Stoddard & Whitesell 414; Evans 22684; American Imprints 40878 (Frisbie); see under BAL 10106 (Irving) for this part of the Sketch Book, noting no textual variants for this part V. Early signature of one Elizabeth across the head of the title page of the Morton. A little early defacing to the bookplate, some pencil signatures in the rear endpaper. With an appropriately macabre extracted engraved illustration, likely American, of one of the plagues of Egypt mounted on the rear pastedown. Front free endpaper excised.