HER WEIGHT IN GOLD. George Barr McCutcheon.

HER WEIGHT IN GOLD. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co. Publishers, [1911]. Small octavo, pp. [1-8] 1-77 [78-80] [note: first and last leaves are blanks], original red cloth, front and spine panels stamped in gold. First edition. BAL, quoting from a letter from the Indiana State Library, notes that this was "part of The Hoosier Set, 'a souvenir set of twelve volumes of original stories, poems, etc. by Hoosier authors, presented to each member and guest [of The Indiana Society of Chicago] at the seventh annual dinner of the society, December 9, 1911.'" The first trade edition (BAL 13528) was issued by Dodd Mead in 1912. A slender book which contains just two short stories, the title story being a humorous tale set in motion when the father of a homely daughter proclaims her "worth her weight in gold" and a cynical young (but eligible) bachelor takes him at his word literally, promising to marry her for a dowry equal to her weight in gold. Complications ensue when the young lady starts to lose weight. The second story, "The Wrath of the Dead," is a tale of the future looking back at the catastrophe that engulfed New York City in 1947 when the spirits of the dead, outraged by the repeated desecration of their tombs and the general ungodliness of the people, took physical form deep down in the bowels of the earth and undermined the area under Manhattan so that the island sank back into the earth, leaving a hole 3000 fathoms deep, into which rushed the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, obliterating all traces of the once-great city. This imagery puts the story in the tradition of subterranean/hollow earth tales, with the tribe of aroused dead also qualifying as a kind of lost race. "This could have been a good story, but it's short on vivid detail and long on pompous platitudes. The portrayal of the dead as morally superior sounds a particularly hollow note. This kind of ancestor-worship in bustling early 20th century America strikes one as a lazy, unexamined use of a hoary old trope. And these Jeremiads against 'getting and spending' generally sounds like they're coming from those who've already made (or inherited) their pile and don't want any brash newcomers crashing the party. Still, a solidly fantastic tale with its use of multiple motifs (futuristic, catastrophic, subterranean, lost race) and an intriguing item for what it might have been." - Robert Eldridge. Not in Bleiler (1948; 1978) or Reginald (1979; 1992). BAL 13527. Smith, American Fiction, 1901-1925 M-123. Cloth lightly rubbed at spine ends and corner tips, a bright, tight, very good copy. (#149925).

Price: $250.00

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