SALATHIEL. A STORY OF THE PAST, THE PRESENT, AND THE FUTURE. In Two Volumes. George Croly.

SALATHIEL. A STORY OF THE PAST, THE PRESENT, AND THE FUTURE. In Two Volumes. New York: G. and C. Carvill [and others]. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Carey; and R. Small, 1828. 12mo, two volumes: pp. [1-5] 6 [7] 8-304; [1-3] 4-298 [299-300: blank], flyleaves at front and rear of both volumes, original drab boards with tan cloth shelf back, printed paper labels affixed to spine panels, all edges untrimmed. First U.S. edition. Published anonymously. The first of two novels published by George Croly (1780-1860), Irish clergyman, poet and miscellaneous writer, a popular gothic tale of the Wandering Jew. "The motif of the Wandering Jew has been used for a variety of literary purposes down through the ages, though it has attracted more interest from European than American writers (where it has tended to merge with the Flying Dutchman in such displaced forms as 'Peter Rugg' and 'The Man Without a Country'). One looks for fresh variations on the theme as well as overall literary ability, and Croly supplied both in this long novel. Its most direct genre affinity is with the romantic historical fiction of Walter Scott, the setting here being the Mediterranean world of the first century. The curse from Jesus (whom the Jew famously refused to help on his way to his crucifixion) is the starting point. The Jew's full understanding of his doom is the story's ending point. In between he encounters 'dreadful visions, imagined journeys through space, shipwrecks, hunger and thirst, violence of all kinds both real and imaginary' (Anderson, The Legend of the Wandering Jew, pp. 188-9). He emerges as a generally sympathetic adventure hero, the first time he was portrayed as a Jewish nationalist resisting both Romans and Christians, and as an unwitting inspiration to future rebels and innovators -- a doomed Byronic hero, in other words (Byron called the author 'roly-poly Croly'). In his definitive treatment of the Wandering Jew legend, George K. Anderson gives considerable space to SALATHIEL and, in comparing it to Maturin's contemporary tale of another doomed immortal, MELMOTH THE WANDERER (1820), declares Croly's work superior as literature (ibid., p. 189). While this judgment will strike most readers as controversial, to say the least, it does suggest that Croly's work does not deserve its present obscurity." - Robert Eldridge. Bleiler (1978), p. 53. Reginald 03632. NCBEL III 375. Sadleir 661 (recording the London edition). Wolff 1633 (recording the London edition). American Imprints 32855. Signature of H. L. Warner dated 1828 on the front board of each volume. Boards worn and soiled, cloth worn and frayed at spine ends, paper labels largely perished, some some browning, spotting and damp staining to endpapers, flyleaves and text paper, a good copy. The book is rarely found in its original binding. (#10858).

Price: $400.00

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