PHIL MAY'S ILLUSTRATED WINTER ANNUAL 1893., not credited, Number 3.

London: Walter Haddon's Central Publishing & Advertising Offices, 1893. Octavo, single issue, numerous illustrations by Phil May, original pictorial wrappers. The third of the Phil May annuals, which lasted for sixteen issues (the season 1904-1905). There were three "Summer" annuals, 1892, 1898 and 1901-2; the remainder were "Winter" annuals issued yearly from 1892 through the season of 1904-1905. In this issue, contents include "The Odic Touch" (by Hume Nisbet, an occult adventure) and "The Valley of Horrors" (a rationalized,but serious, ghost story). "Contributors to the early issues of this annual included many of the leading authors of popular fiction (G. A. Sala, James Payn, Barry Pain, Israel Zangwill, Conan Doyle, Morley Roberts, Walter Besant, Clark Russell, Richard Le Gallienne, Cutcliffe Hyne, Frankfort Moore, Tom Gallon, E.G. Henham) and the magazine presented a broad mix of genres and styles. Towards the turn-of-the-century, under the editorship of Harry Thompson, the magazine settled into a pattern that favored dark and sensational fiction, while maintaining the exclusive presence of May's caricatures (which tended more towards the realistic than the fantastic, though there was something almost uncanny in the way that he could make a few pen strokes capture personality as he did, and his comedy ranges from frolicsome to bittersweet). After 1900, a preponderance of stories offered tales of horror and adventure, whether the thrills were supernatural, science-fictional or psychological; and the authors reflected this sensationalism, registering a notch or two down on the social ladder (e.g.,Hume Nisbet, Philip V. Mighels); Ernest Favenc became a near-regular; but most of the contributors were (and are) extremely obscure, never graduating from periodical to book publication. The 'Editor's Preface' to the 1901-1902 issue acknowledges this new literary focus. 'The Editor has pleasure in informing his readers that in deference to the wishes of the more sensitive-hearted among them, the mortality bill of the fiction has been kept down to but six abrupt demises. To make up for any disappointment, however, much weird, fantastic mystery will be found herein to thrill and fascinate the attention of all.' A significant source of obscure genre material which, coming from an annual -- hybrid form that it was, tends to fall through the cracks between book and periodical researchers. The juxtaposition of horror (fiction) and humor (artwork) may strike one as curious, but makes good sense, as each relieves the strains built up by the other." - Robert Eldridge. Wolff 7865b. Covers dusty, a very good copy with clean interior. Scarce. (#112473).

Price: $85.00

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