WAGNER, THE WEHR-WOLF. A ROMANCE. London: Published for the Proprietor, by John Dicks, No. 7, Wellington Street North, Strand, 1857. Quarto (24x16 mm), pp. [i-vi] [i] ii [1] 2-192, double columns, 24 illustrations by Henry Anelay, nineteenth-century three-quarter brown leather and brown satin-like cloth, spine panel stamped in gold. First book edition. This sensational novel was first published as a serial in REYNOLD'S MAGAZINE OF ROMANCE, GENERAL LITERATURE, SCIENCE AND ART, 6 November 1846–24 July 1847, and, nearly simultaneously, issued in 24 weekly penny parts. This first book edition, dated 1857, was published in London by John Dicks. "Along with Leitch Ritche’s 'The Man-Wolf' (1831) and Frederick Marryat’s 'The White Wolf of the Hartz Mountains' from THE PHANTOM SHIP (1839), Reynold’s WAGNER THE WEHR-WOLF (1847) is one of the earliest treatments of the werewolf motif in English literature. WAGNER THE WEHR-WOLF can also be properly regarded as the first werewolf novel, preceding both Alexander Dumas’ THE WOLF LEADER (1857) Clemence Houseman’s THE WERE-WOLF (1896). Fast-paced and highly engaging, Reynold’s penny dreadful is a Gothic melodrama constructed around the plight of Ferdinand Wagner, a kindhearted 90-year-old shepherd who is offered wealth, youth, and intelligence by Faust in exchange for being his companion for 18 months and preying upon human flesh as a wehr-wolf. Reynolds treatment of lycanthropy as a curse and the werewolf as a sympathetic victim finds its fullest expression in the characterization of Larry Talbot in Universal’s classic horror film The Wolf-Man (1941). The character of Isaachar ben Solomon, a Jewish money lender who suffers horribly at the hands of the Inquisition, also makes Reynolds’ novel noteworthy for avoiding Jewish stereotypes so common in Victorian literature at the time. Like Guy Endore’s THE WEREWOLF OF PARIS (1933), WAGNER THE WEHR-WOLF is a foundational text in the literature of the werewolf." - Boyd White. Ashley, Who's Who in Horror and Fantasy Fiction, pp. 153-4. Barron (ed), Horror Literature 2-82. Bleiler, The Guide to Supernatural Fiction 1378. Bleiler (ed), Supernatural Fiction Writers: Fantasy and Horror, pp. 207-10. Sullivan (ed), The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural, pp. 351-2. Summers, A Gothic Bibliography, p. 550. Survey of Modern Fantasy Literature IV, pp. 2049-53. Tymn (ed), Horror Literature 2-82. Bleiler (1978), p. 165. Reginald 12158. 18 mm chip from lower spine end, leather lightly worn at upper spine end, corner tips, and along outer joints, a tight, internally fine copy. All early editions of this novel are uncommon. This first printing of the book edition is rare. Enclosed in a custom quarter leather clamshell box. (#156355).

Price: $4,500.00

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