THE CATSKILL FAIRIES ...

THE CATSKILL FAIRIES. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1876. Large octavo, pp. [1-11] 12-163 [164: blank] [1]-3: ads [4: blank] [note: first leaf is a blank], flyleaves at front and rear, forty illustrations, some full page, by Alfred Fredericks, original pictorial bevel-edged olive green cloth, front and spine panels stamped in gold, rear panel stamped in blind, a.e.g., brown coated endpapers. First edition. Attebery calls this episodic children's fantasy "a rather disappointing sequel to Irving's treatment of the same Catskill scenery," but this fairy story has little to do with the scenery of the region, and nothing to do with Rip's adventure. It's an imaginative, though somewhat didactic, dream fantasy of Catskill fairies (of Dutch and American Indian ancestry) and Nip, an elf (of Germanic ancestry) from the Berkshires, who visit Joe, a poor farmer's boy, to play and work, making gifts, on Christmas Eve. During this enchanted evening, all animals and inanimate objects, including a grandfather clock and a seashell, can talk to human beings. All relate episodes from their lives to young Joe, most of the experiences illustrating moral values. The evening's revelry owes more to Hoffmann's Nutcracker (or A Midsummer Night's Dream) than Rip's adventure among the gnomes. The excellent illustrations by Fredericks are reminiscent and perhaps influenced by the work of Richard Doyle. Some or all of this material appeared serially in HARPER'S NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE in 1875. The book is copyright 1875, but it was published in 1876. A physically beautiful book that was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 because of its typography, and displayed again as part of a contemporary exhibition at Columbia University, Judging a Book by its Cover. Virginia Wales Johnson (1849-1916), U.S. writer born in Brooklyn, New York, was primarily an author of books for children. Attebery, The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature, p. 79. Hamilton 765. 1885 Christmas gift inscription on front flyleaf. Cloth rubbed at edges, mainly spine ends and corner tips, hairline crack along inner front hinge, rear free endpaper missing, still a sound, very good copy with fine, clean interior. A fairly scarce book and an important early American children's fantasy. (#130654).

Price: $250.00

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