PHANTOM LOVER: A FANTASTIC STORY. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1886. Small octavo, pp. [1-2]  ii  4-134, original mustard cloth, front and spine panels stamped in red. First U.S. edition. "Of Lee's best fiction, only two stories are set outside of Italy. In its quiet way, the earlier of these -- first published in booklet form as A PHANTOM LOVER (1886) and subsequently in HAUNTINGS (1890) as 'Oke of Okehurst' -- is as much a tour de force as her flamboyant Don Juan fantasy "The Virgin of the Seven Daggers" (written 1889; published in FOR MAURICE, 1927). Perhaps somewhat undervalued because of its drenched, tepid English setting, and because its protagonists are at least superficially routine creations, 'Oke of Okehurst' nevertheless demonstrates that its author, in 1886, breathed the same literary atmosphere as Henry James and was capable of anticipating some of his explorations into the relationship between the narrator and what he narrates ... If the contemporary reader detects an adumbration here of Henry James's 'The Turn of the Screw' (1898), he is unlikely to be misguided. 'Oke of Okehurst' depicts a folie a trois, and the reader is left as ambivalent about what truly happened as he is clearly meant to be in the later tale. Lee's novella can only gain by being read as an early tour de force in the presentation of an unreliable narrator. In this light, a quiet, overextended anecdote can be seen as a tale of genuine horror" - John Clute, Bleiler (ed), Supernatural Fiction Writers: Fantasy and Horror, pp. 331-32. "Her first important supernatural fiction ... Along with the later 'The Turn of the Screw' (1898) by her friend Henry James, A PHANTOM LOVER fits remarkably well into Tsetvan Todorov's definition of the fantastic. A painter becomes obsessed with the similarity (almost certainly a matter of his own perception) between the woman he is painting and her ancestor, who was involved in a family tragedy. By the end of the tale, he has generated an uncanny further tragedy." - Clute and Grant (eds), The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997), p. 570. "The tale is very subtly told and is by no means clear. Is it a story of marital discord, petty sadism, and madness? Is there really a ghostly lover? Is Mrs. Oke possessed? What share does the artist have in the events? Lee is not easily pinned down." – Sullivan (ed), The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural, p. 256. Ashley, Who's Who in Horror and Fantasy Fiction, p. 114. Barron (ed), Horror Literature 2-48. Bleiler, The Guide to Supernatural Fiction 988. Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy, p. 136 (rebound; lacking wrappers). Tymn (ed), Horror Literature 3-143. Wilson, Shadows in the Attic, p. 326. Bleiler (1978), p. 121. Reginald 08779. NCBEL III 1445. Topp, Victorian Yellowbacks & Paperbacks, 1849-1905, VII, p. 327. Touch of wear to lower spine end, dust soiling to cloth (to be expected on this light colored binding), a very good copy. This edition is as elusive as its British counterpart. (#130739).
No statement of printing.