CAN SUCH THINGS BE? Washington: The Neale Publishing Company, 431 Eleventh Street, 1903. Octavo, pp. [1-4] [i-ii] iii-iv  2-320, flyleaves at front and rear, original brown vertically ribbed cloth, front and spine panels stamped in white and gold, all edges untrimmed. Second edition. This edition adds a 5-line "Preface" by Bierce. A presentation copy with signed inscription from Bierce to his protégé and friend George Sterling on the front flyleaf: "For /George Sterling, / with compliments / of Ambrose Bierce. / Washington, D. C. / April 20, 1903." In 1890 George Sterling (1869-1926) moved to Oakland, California, "to work for Frank C. Havens, his rich and generous uncle. Sterling met Joaquin Miller in 1891 and through him joined the San Francisco Bohemians. In 1896 Sterling ... began to write poetry in earnest. After he published THE TESTIMONY OF THE SUNS AND OTHER POEMS (1903) he became a leading figure among the Bohemians ... In 1903, Sterling and Herman George Scheffauer, another friend of Bierce's, arranged for the publication of his SHAPES OF CLAY. Sterling, aided with money from his uncle, built a home in Carmel, California, in 1905, and helped substantially in founding an art colony there. It soon flourished, especially after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Sterling, dubbed 'the King of Bohemia' and then 'the King of Carmel,' published 'A Wine of Wizardry' in COSMOPOLITAN (1907), which publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst had recently purchased and for which Bierce was writing. With this poem Sterling gained national renown ... When Sterling began to produce serious poetry, he became Bierce's protégé ... Having arranged for 'A Wine of Wizardry' to be published in COSMOPOLITAN, Bierce reviewed it there favorably, with unaccustomed irrationality: He called Sterling the greatest American poet 'we have.' Joaquin Miller, even more impressed, called Sterling the greatest poet since Dante." - Gale, An Ambrose Bierce Companion, pp. 269-70. CAN SUCH THING BE? is the second of two collections of Bierce's short stories published during his lifetime. Bierce is the finest American author of supernatural horror fiction in the second half of the nineteenth century, clearly dominating the period in between Poe and Lovecraft, and in some ways, a superior craftsman to either of them. CAN SUCH THINGS BE? is his key collection of weird tales. Anatomy of Wonder (1976) 2-17 and (1981) 1-23. Barron (ed), Fantasy and Horror (1999) 1-18. Bleiler, The Guide to Supernatural Fiction 163. Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years 198. Clareson, The Emergence of American Science Fiction: 1880-1915, pp. 55-65. Clareson, Science Fiction in America 1870s-1930s 073. Clute and Grant (eds), The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997), p. 110-11. Clute and Nicholls (eds), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1993), pp. 118-9. Sullivan (ed), The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural, pp. 33-4. Survey of Science Fiction Literature I, pp. 283-87. Tymn (ed), Horror Literature 3-21. BAL 1121. Starrett 18. Krick 33. Sterling's bookplate is affixed to the front paste-down. The delicate white chalk stamping is mostly perished from the spine panel, cloth rubbed along lower edges, a very good copy. An important association copy. (#164552).
No statement of printing on copyright page.