THE DWARF OF WESTERBOURG. From the German of J[ohn] C[hristian] Spietz. London: Printed for the Author; and Published by W. Morgan, 33, Old Bond Street, 1827. 12mo, two volumes: pp. [i-iii] iv-v [vi]  2-249 [250: blank]; [i-ii]  2-248, contemporary three-quarter leather and marbled boards. First edition in English. A translation of DAS PETERMANNCHEN, his most popular work, a romantic thriller and ghost story set in the thirteenth century, first published in Prague in 1791-1792. "Spiess's romances were popular objects of English translation during the Gothic period and were adored for their fabulous medievalism." - Tymn, Horror Literature 1-370. Spiess (1755-1799) "... died [at the age of 44], almost insane, the result of his weird fancies ... Spiess, in his Ritter-, Räuber- and Geister-Romane, as they are called -- stories of knights, robbers and ghosts of the 'dark' ages -- the idea of which he borrowed from Goethe's Götz von Berlichingen and Schiller's Räuber and Der Geisterseher, was the founder of the German Schauerroman (shocker), a style of writing continued, though in a finer vein, by Carl Gottlob Cramer (1758–1817) and by Goethe's brother-in-law, Christian August Vulpius. These stories, though appealing largely to the vulgar taste, made Spiess one of the most widely read authors of his day." - Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., vol. XXV, p. 667. In his preface, the anonymous translator speculates that the present work may have provided a model for Lewis's THE MONK (1796). "John Christian Spietz" was identified later as an anglicization of Christian Heinrich Spiess. The title of this translation takes similar liberties with the German original (which means "Little Peter," referring to the story's hero). The present edition is somewhat curious typographically, borrowing the dramatic convention of putting the speaking character's name in capital letters before his or her dialogue, but this is unquestionably a novel, with copious amounts of description and narration. Morgan, A Critical Bibliography of German Literature in English Translation 8852 (signaling the translation for special commendation). Summers, A Gothic Bibliography, p. 301. Bleiler (1978), p. 183. Not in Reginald. Bloch 2948. A very good, handsome copy. Rare. COPAC reports one copy (British Library); No copies of this edition are reported on OCLC. No copies have appeared at auction in the past 35 years. (#153270).
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