A MAD MADONNA AND OTHER STORIES. Boston: Published by Joseph Knight Company, 1895. Octavo, pp. [1-12] [1] 2-203 [204: blank] [205-209: ads] [210-212: blank] [note: first and last leaves are blanks], eight inserted plates, original decorated red cloth, front panel stamped in black and gold, spine panel stamped in gold, t.e.g, other edges untrimmed. First edition. Collection of six short stories, all with supernatural content of a pronounced or subdued nature. Most are set in Italy. All portray what one might call the dangers of art, reflecting a typical Romantic perspective, though the art itself in these stories is from the Classical or Renaissance periods. The title story follows the model for Raphael's "Madonna" as she wanders about Italy looking for the artist who painted her 300 years earlier. In "Ignoto," a young American girl encounters the ghost of an unknown ("Ignoto," as the wall text has it) painter in the Uffizi of Florence; she resists the uncanny reality of the encounter and the ghost withers away in despair. In "A Bit of Delft," a young English girl becomes obsessed with the blue glaze of Delft pottery and talks her way into the only remaining pottery that still makes it, falling in love with a Dutch artist only to have him suddenly die; inspired by a vision of his face in the sky, she reproduces it on a tile. "Apollo" presents another encounter between an American girl and a romantic European -- the very image of Belvedere's Apollo. Is he the god himself reanimated? The matter is left somewhat ambiguous. "Love's House" is a puzzling allegory about a Shadow and the Ghosts of old cherished art objects in Love's House, where a newlywed couple (and a curious child) make an awkward transition from illusion to reality. "From Another Country" is set at the Colombian Exhibition of 1892 in Chicago, where a classical scene has been reproduced as a theatrical illusion: a dreamy painter, viewing the landscape with a wistful longing, suddenly finds a strange woman at his side who appears to have emerged from the Classical past: Part II adds a rationalized explanation, but Part I of the story stands quite nicely as an atmospheric weird tale. A not inconsiderable collection, overlooked by genre bibliographies. The author, as L. Clarkson, also wrote THE SHADOW OF JOHN WALLACE (1884), a novel listed in Bleiler's Checklist. A scarce book. Not in Bleiler (1948; 1978) or Reginald (1979; 1992) or Day (1963). Wright (III) 5928. Several small tears to gutter margins of pages 36-7, a very good copy. (#149926).

Price: $350.00

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