WHITE BEARS AND GOLD. Emmet May.

WHITE BEARS AND GOLD. Boston: Richard G. Badger, Publisher The Gorham Press, 1931. Octavo, pp. [1-6] 7 [8-10] 11-249 [250-254: blank] [note: last two leaves are blanks], original decorated black cloth, front panel stamped in gold and blind, spine panel stamped in gold. First edition. A presentation copy with signed inscription by May dated 2 January 1933 on the front free endpaper. Loosely connected short stories narrated by the Wandering Jew about some of his strange adventures. Almost all are fantastic in one way or another. Some develop magical themes from folklore and legend, including Christian sources. Others are tall tales in the true Munchausian tradition, devising grotesque fates for animals. Others are what might be called biological science fiction -- one is a tale of Frankensteinian experiments. Another relates, without explanation, the odd incidents in a haunted house: the spectral figures might be either ghosts or zombies or actors. Another, the longest, is a tale of a lost race beneath the desert of Egypt, reached by a submarine -- in Elizabethan times. Another is a traditional vampire story. A survey of methods of torture and a (female) detective story round out the collection. The writing style is choppy and flat, with little control of narrative flow, suspense, and momentum, failing to develop the full potential of what is, in many cases, imaginative raw material. Scarce. May seems to have been a Midwesterner working in the life insurance business. He produced another work of fiction, a novel, in 1924; both were probably vanity published. Anderson, The Legend of the Wandering Jew, pp. 364-5. Teitler (2013) 840. Not in Bleiler (1948; 1978), Reginald (1979; 1992) or Day, A Supplemental Checklist of Fantastic Literature (1963). A fine copy in very good decorated dust jacket with light wear and short closed tears, mostly along bottom edge. An elusive book rarely found in jacket. (#156025).

Price: $550.00

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