THE AMBER GODS AND OTHER STORIES. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1863. 12mo, pp. [1-8] [1-3] 4-432, flyleaves at front and rear, original decorated bevel-edged plum pebbled cloth, front and rear panels stamped in blind, spine panel stamped in gold, t.e.g., brown coated endpapers. First edition. The author's second book and first collection of short fiction. Collects seven stories, including her classic detective story "In a Cellar" (1859), her frightening tale of frontier adventure, "Circumstance" (1860), and her complex fantasy "The Amber Gods" (1860), considered "one of the most powerful short stories in the language" by Quinn. "The Romantic Gothic tales of Harriet Prescott Spofford have affinities with the frenzied monologues of Poe and the self-absorbed sinners of Hawthorne. The heroine of "The Amber Gods" is Giorgione Willoughby (called 'Yone'), an inversion of the dark lady of the Gothic, a sort of blond Ligeia. Perverse, vainglorious, blasphemous, she is a type of malign spirit who serves the strange gods symbolized by the beads of an amber necklace, a sort of Satan's rosary ... Bizarre, sensational, and cryptic in its macabre depiction of the fatal lady as a Venusian figure, 'The Amber Gods' is a connecting link between the physical Gothicism of Poe and the cerebral Gothicism of Henry James. Going beyond the extrinsic Gothicism of 'Ligeia,' Spofford's story [according to Barton Levi St. Armand] 'startled the American public into a confrontation with, if not tolerance for, the erotic nature of woman.'" - Frank, Through the Pale Door: A Guide To and Through the American Gothic 449. "Mrs. Spofford wrote in her long career two hundred and seventy-five short stories. She could not always be at her best, but she reflects in her career some of the most important phases of the short story. No one has better portrayed the relations of sound and color, the influence of glorious music upon the fates of human beings. Few except Poe and Hawthorne have established so well the mystic relation of gems and flowers upon their characters, and we have to go back to Cooper and Melville for her equals in describing the moods of the sea. The artist who wrote 'The Amber Gods' in 1860 and published THE ELDER'S PEOPLE in 1920, swinging the complete circle between romantic idealism and classic realism, remains a remarkable phenomenon in our literature." - Quinn, American Fiction, p. 214. BAL 18442. Wright (II) 2338. Cloth worn with shallow loss at spine ends, a few scuffs and stains, cloth faded, spine panel tanned, several stains to the fore-edge margin of first leaf of text, inner hinges tight, a sound, good copy. A fairly scarce book and one that is seldom encountered in nice condition. (#157095).
No statement of printing.