SIR ROHAN'S GHOST. Boston: J. E. Tilton and Company, 1860. Octavo, pp. [i-vii] viii [ix-x] [9-11] 12-352 [353-356: ads], flyleaves at front and rear, original purple cloth, front and rear panels ruled in blind, spine panel stamped in gold and blind, brown coated endpapers. First edition. The author's anonymously published first book. "The plot is reminiscent of Poe, for Sir Rohan's ghost is the memory of a woman whom he had wronged, tired of, and tried to kill, but who has left a daughter with whom he fell in love." - Quinn, American Fiction, p. 208. "The story is a delicate mixture of moral gilt and brooding terror not unlike the Gothic shading of one of her mentors in the art of moralized Gothic, Nathaniel Hawthorne. The ghost who victimizes Sir Rohan is both a real Gothic phantom and the symbol of his own betrayed conscience; it is the phantom of sinful memory not to be denied and always on hand to remind him of a terrible crime concealed. His crime, like that of Dimmesdale in THE SCARLET LETTER, involves sexual incontinence and concealment. Each time Sir Rohan attempts to settle into some kind of happiness, the ghost intervenes to ruin his bliss. After retiring to his manor in Cornwall, Sir Rohan is visited by an old friend, St, Denys, who brings with him his beautiful ward, Miriam. When Sir Rohan and Miriam fall in love, the stage is set for Gothic justice. Miriam is the child of his original sin for which the ghost has long pursued him. If he persists in his love for Miriam -- and he cannot help doing so -- then the punishment of incest awaits him. Entrapped within this moral labyrinth, Sir Rohan's soul and self waste slowly away until 'Sir Rohan was dead of his ghost.' Spofford's tale confirms a fact of the American Gothic stated so tersely by her fellow New Englander, Emily Dickinson, 'One need not be a chamber to be haunted.'" - Frank, Through the Pale Door: A Guide To and Through the American Gothic 448. Baron (ed), Horror Literature 2-90. Bleiler, The Guide to Supernatural Fiction 1511. Bleiler (1978), p. 184. Reginald 11886. BAL 18441 (noted binding A). Wright (II) 2341. Mild fading to spine panel, a nearly fine copy. A very nice copy of a book seldom found in decent condition. (#149875).
No statement of printing.