STANFIELD HALL. London: Bradley & Co., 12 and 13, Fetter Lane, E.C., 1889. Octavo, three volumes in one: pp. [1-3] 4-400; [1-3] 4-432; [1-8] [1-3] 4-406 [407-408: blank], 72 illustrations by Sir John Gilbert (24 in vol. I, 29 in vol. II, 19 in vol. III), original black morocco cloth, front and rear panels stamped in blind, spine panel stamped in gold. Later edition. Penny-dreadful with science-fictional elements, set partially in the future. First issued in periodical form in 1849. The first of many book editions (all of them rare now) appeared in 1851 in 59 penny parts totaling 490 pages. The current volume (a bind-up of 78 weekly parts) agrees with Wolff's copy (#6645), where he notes: "This is a curious publication. There are no title pages or prelims in Vols. I and II ... Vol. III has the following title page: 'CROMWELL; OR, THE PROTECTOR'S OATH. AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE. By J. F. Smith, author of 'Minnigrey,' 'Woman and Her Master,' 'Will and the Way,' etc. Forming Vol. III of Stanfield Hall,' and gives the publisher and date; this title page is followed by a half-title. I think we are dealing with a parts-publication in binder's cloth." Vol. III, in addition to a title- and half-title page, has contents and illustration pages (for that volume only). Our bind-up is three-volumes in one, Wolff's copy is bound in three volumes. The novel tracks the fortunes of the Stanfield family from the Middle Ages up to the Restoration, and works traditional conflicts about inheritance & disinheritance, love & friendship, Judaism & Christianity into a story that helps mark the transition of working-class fiction from patchy experimentation to smooth professional work that fed an important segment of commercial publishing. Science fictional elements include such futuristic inventions as plastic surgery (when a fugitive gets a new face), gas-bombs, electrolysis, and a motion picture. "Inventions like this are quite unlike anything in previous fiction: they are a sign of Victorian inventiveness spilling over into romance, and look forward to the futuristic boys' stories at the end of the century with their flying machines, a Steam Horse and electrical weapons." - James, Fiction for the Working Man, p. 94. Light wear to spine ends and corner tips, several splits in cloth along outer joints mended, a tight, clean very good copy. The only copy with this Bradley imprint recorded by COPAC or OCLC is held by by the British Library (which also has a copy of the 1851 edition). OCLC records 5 copies of an issue very similar to this one, but with the imprint of the "London Journal Office." (#136798).
No statement of printing.