WITCH STORIES. London: Chapman and Hall, 1861. Octavo, pp. [i-iii] iv  2-428, original decorated rose cloth, front and rear panels stamped in blind, spine panel stamped in gold, all edges untrimmed, yellow coated endpapers. First edition. Probably the best collection of Victorian witch stories, a collection of hundreds of recorded cases of witchcraft in Scotland and England. Stories "of the most dismal and repulsive nature" says the DNB, gathered, according to Linton, to allow every reader to "judge for himself" the truth and nature of witchcraft, but which she in fact intended to be a protest against the credulity and supernaturalism of the day. A noted journalist and novelist, Eliza Lynn Linton (1822-1898) was the first female salaried journalist in Britain, and the author of over twenty novels. She was a regular contributor to both of Dickens' weekly magazines, HOUSEHOLD WORDS (1850-1859) and ALL THE YEAR ROUND (1859-1895). "While Dickens sometimes edited out her Balzacian touches, he regularly published her short stories, articles on French manners and customs, and a series on witchcraft." - Sullivan (ed), British Literary Magazines: The Victorian and Edwardian Age, 1837-1913, p. 172. She became a novelist of the first rank with the success of JOSHUA DAVIDSON (1872). Her later fiction, like her periodical writings, shows an increasingly reactionary attitude towards women's rights. "She was a kindhearted, generous woman, but extremely sharp-spoken and impulsive, rather a meddler and gossip, and a blind partisan. In consequence she collected probably the largest and most distinguished set of enemies of anyone of her period. Although her own life was a vindication of the economic freedom of women, she was a bitter antifeminist." - Kunitz and Haycraft (eds), British Authors of the Nineteenth Century, p. 387. Clute and Grant (eds), The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, p. 584. Bleiler (1978), p. 124. Sadleir 1438. Wolff 4150. NCBEL III 944. Crowe, Catalogue of the Witchcraft Collection in Cornell University Library, p. 351 (recording later editions). Cloth stained and faded, but a pleasing copy of a scarce book. (#157082).
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