Item #21096 His Fatal Wager: A Highly Sensational and Realistic Novel. CHEAP FICTION, William Wilson Knott.

His Fatal Wager: A Highly Sensational and Realistic Novel.

[Chicago: Bow-Knot Publishing Co., ca. 1893-1894]. Original pictorial pink wrappers (7.38 x 5.25 inches), 334 pages. Wrappers spotted and sunned, with some damp-staining; a little chipped at the head and foot of the spine; cheap pulp paper stock toned but supple; in good condition. Item #21096

“I was now a veritable madman. A sexual maniac.” Dedicated to a warden at the Joliet prison from one of his former inmates, a sensationalist novel of Chicago that opens with a couple sitting on a bench in Lincoln Park, a tale of seduction, sex and murder—as well as a lengthy prefatory account from Knott detailing his arrest in 1891 and imprisonment in 1892 for sending circulars advertising obscene matter through the mails in promotion of his novel Stolen Sweets. (His supposedly innocent excuse would have appeared to rest with his professed difficulties of navigating the postal regulations around second-class matter, this dodge likely something of a fig leaf.) Advertisements for Knott’s return to publishing with the publication of His Fatal Wager after his stint in prison appeared in the New York trade publication The Newsman beginning in August, 1893. For more on Knott’s career as an author and publisher of material that dealt frankly (if not explicitly) with sex, see also (for instance) the 11 August 1894 Chicago Inter Ocean for an inflammatory notice of Knott’s A Gay Lothario (“unspeakably vile,” “literary debauchers,” etc.), as well as an earlier notice in the Inter Ocean of 29 May 1892 of Knott’s sentencing, with its remark, “Knott’s last book was written in jail when he was serving a sentence for a similar crime in Kansas City.”.

Price: $250.00