THE VALLEY OF INHERITANCE. V. Langbridge, C. Harold Bourne.

THE VALLEY OF INHERITANCE. London: Methuen & Co., [1905]. Octavo, pp. [1-4] [1] 2-294 [295] [296: printer's imprint] + 40-page publisher's catalogue dated "March 1905" inserted at rear, original decorated dark green cloth, front and spine panels stamped in gold. First edition. "Fictional treatments of madness tend to fall into either the thriller category, which caricatures the subject and thus takes the edge off its fearfulness, or else the melodrama, which sentimentalizes and thus softens it. The present novel fits squarely into the school of Naturalism, which came to the Anglophone world around the turn-of-the-century, looking at the sordid aspects of life that had been suppressed by the genteel post-romantic tradition. The novel's treatment of madness, and other subjects, produces an almost breathtaking bleakness that will make your very bones feel cold. At the same time, however, the surgical precision of the author's style, the sheer beauty of his craftsmanship -- these envelop his subject like a nimbus around a wintry full moon, warming the spirit even as it chills the body. Obsession, psychosis, murder, suicide: these are the major events of the story, the legacy handed down by a distant ancestor. Is the legacy transmitted through reincarnation? Physiological insanity? Character warped by environment? The medical explanation offered by one character, who goes on about 'nerve cells' and 'latency' and so forth can be seen today as obvious nonsense (though it may place the story in the context of early biological science fiction). It may be best to view the story in theological terms -- the operation of Nemesis, as the Greeks would say, or the visitation of the sins of the fathers on their children, as the Bible would say. In any event, this is a bracingly beautiful work of horror. Langbridge published one other novel in 1909. Virtually nothing is known about him (or her)." - Robert Eldridge. "... will tone down any exuberance of spirits which the holiday season may have engendered. It is a clever, if somewhat fantastic, novel by two writers who will make a mark for themselves." -- The Review of Reviews, vol. 32, p. 208, where it was selected as one of the half-dozen best novels of the month (August, 1905). Not in Bleiler (1948; 1978) or Reginald (1979; 1992) or Day, Supplemental Checklist of Fantastic Literature. W. H. Smith & Sons subscription library label and small private owner's name and address stamp on the front paste-down. Corners bumped, spine ends rubbed, a bit of foxing to fore-edge, inner hinges cracked and strengthened, overall a good copy of this uncommon book, which has just one institutional holding in the U.S. (#148331).

Price: $150.00

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Printing identification statement for this book:
"First published in 1905" on copyright page.