MONALDI: A TALE. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1841. 12mo, pp. [1-7] 8-253 [254-256: blank], flyleaf at front, original decorated green cloth, all panels stamped in gold and blind, yellow coated endpapers (binder's name "Bradley Binder" stamped in blind on the front free endpaper and front flyleaf). First edition. Primarily a painter, this tale is Allston's only work of fiction. It was published in August 1841, "not with the pretension of a Novel," as Allston says in the Introductory Note, "but simply as a Tale." The story was written in 1822 for THE IDLE MAN, Richard Henry Dana's short-lived periodical which, after a few issues, creased publication before Allston's tale could be published. "It is a story of jealousy, envy, and revenge, after the manner of Mrs. Radcliffe, whom Allston especially admired." - DAB. "A Gothic novel of passion, jealousy, revenge, deceit, erotic villainy, insanity, and betrayal, MONALDI also offers psychological profundity in its probing of the hazards of the imaginative life and the artistic self's vulnerability to his own repressed forces. The painter-hero Monaldi is deceived by his villainous friend, Maldura, when both men fall in love with Rosalia Landi. Maldura plots to drive Monaldi mad with the delusion of Rosalia's seduction. Monaldi stabs his beloved but she recovers and attempts to reveal Maldura's plot. Now insane, Monaldi believes that Rosalia has returned from death to torment him, but this delusion leads to his creation of a painting of ghastly beauty, his masterpiece. In Allston's Gothic fable, the imagination becomes a demon far more appalling than any external ghost." - Barron (ed), Fantasy and Horror (1999) 1-7. "... an Italianate romance full of fatal Gothic passions operating in a lurid atmosphere of revenge and erotic villainy." - Tymn, Horror Literature 2-4. "Alliston's Gothic novel of passion, jealousy, insanity, and betrayal has serious qualities and genuine psychological depth. It explores the hazards of the imaginative life lived too intensely and moves toward a high minded order of American Gothic in its portrait of the artist as madman. Allston was a painter, a romantic theorist, and an explorer of the hazards of the artistic life, all of which figure into the violent fabric of MONALDI." - Frank, Through the Pale Door: A Guide To and Through the American Gothic 013. BAL 501 (binding B, priority, if any, not established). Wright (I) 17. Neat gift inscription dated 1842 on the half title page. Spine lean, but quite a nice copy overall. (#157078).
No statement of printing.