THE ALBIGENSES, A ROMANCE. By the Author of "Bertram," A Tragedy: "Woman; or, Pour et Contre," &c. ... In Four Volumes. London: Printed for Hurst, Robinson, and Co. 90, Cheapside, and 8, Pall-Mall; and A. Constable and Co. Edinburgh, 1824. 12mo, four volumes: [i-vii] viii  2-439 [440: blank]; [i-iv]  2-366 [367-368: ads]; [i-iv]  2-335 [336: blank]; [i-iv]  2-277 [278: ad] [279-280: ads], early nineteenth-century three-quarter calf and marbled boards, spine panels tooled in gold and blind, black leather title pieces, red sprinkled edges. First edition. Originally intended as the first book of a trilogy of historical romances meant to explore the “feelings and manners” of Europeans in ancient, middle, and modern times. Unfortunately Maturin died in the year of publication and so it was his sixth and final novel. “Maturin's final Gothic romance portrays with great sadistic energy if not historical accuracy the persecution and systematic extermination of the Albigenses sect in the year 1209, a large group of Manichean heretics living in communities in southern France in the thirteenth century. The holocaust was conceived by Pope Innocent III and implemented with brutal efficiency by Simon de Montfort ... Maturin tried hard to integrate Gothic devices with historical drama and the two forms do compliment each other thematically if not with total consistency through the four volumes ... If we view the role of history in the novel as a metaphor for human cruelty abetted by 'dubious Christianity' and warped religious ideals, the bloody crusade against the Albigenses then comes to symbolize the potential depravity of the self. Along with the expected Gothic themes of castles, curses, and vocal spectres, the novel introduces lycanthropy, or werewolfism, as a terror motif for the first time in Gothic fiction. The motif was a natural way of expressing the instantaneous bestiality which might erupt without warning and overthrow reason at any moment even in the most civilized human being." - Frank, The First Gothics 269. Set in France "during the wars between the Catholics and the Albigenses, the earliest reformers of the faith, the pictures of the Crusaders, the Albigenses in their lonely worship in mountain shrines, and wicked monks and armed heroines marching about Languedoc are finely conceived and evidently modeled on the works of Scott. In its richness, variety, and forceful delineation, ALBIGENSES anticipates the style of G. P. R. James." - Sullivan (ed), The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural, pp. 285-6. Ashley, Who's Who in Horror and Fantasy Fiction, p. 129. Barron (ed), Horror Literature 1-65. Tymn (ed), Horror Literature 1-245. Bleiler (1978), p. 136. Reginald 09825. Garside, Raven and Schowerling 1824: 66. Sadleir 1662. Not in Wolff. Loeber and Loeber M317. Armorial bookplate of John Congreve affixed to front paste-down of all four volumes, and his signature at the upper right corner of each title page. The half title leaves and final leaf of volume 4 (N8, an advertising leaf) are missing (as is usually the case), but R4 (a leaf of publisher's advertisements) in volume 2 (often missing), is present in this copy. Occasional light foxing and soiling to the text, spine panels faded to a uniform tan. A lovely copy of a rare book in a very attractive contemporary binding. In a fine 4-part cloth slipcase with rounded quarter leather spine with leather title and number pieces and gold tooling. (#151028).
No statement of printing.