CRYSTALINA: A FAIRY TALE. By An American. New York: Printed by George F. Hopkins, 1816. Octavo, pp. [1-8]  2-112 [note: first leaf is a blank], flyleaves at front and rear, original light blue boards with tan paper shelf back, all edges untrimmed. First edition. An early American fairy tale, a poem in six cantos about a bold knight's search for Crystalina, a princess abducted by fairies. The story, according to Harney "is founded, chiefly, on the superstitions of the Highlanders of Scotland, and was finished in 1812." The only poem published by John Milton Harney (1789-1825) during his lifetime; his other poems were published in magazines after his death. The work was reviewed at length and with enthusiasm (and reservations) by American novelist and critic John Neal, who identified its place in the tradition of Spenser's The Faery Queen. "This is the most splendid production ... that ever came before us. The powers of genius are sometimes as well measured and determined by the magnitude of its errours, as by its beauties. Every flight is an adventure, and it cannot be expected, that every adventure should succeed ... We can produce passages from CRYSTALINA which have not been surpassed in our language. Spencer [sic] himself ... never dreamed of more exquisitely fanciful scenery, than that which our bard has sometimes painted." - review in The Portico [Baltimore] 3 January 1817, 23-38. "Packed with fantastic imagery of great variety, it is impressive both as a series of spectacles and as a torrent of heroic action." - Robert Eldridge. Attebery, The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature: From Irving to Le Guin, p. 29. Harris Catalogue, p. 111. Weglin 979. Shaw and Shoemaker 37796. Delicate paper spine chipped at top and bottom, some tanning to text block, but a sound, attractive, very good copy. (#137536).
No statement of printing.