TALES OF MY NEIGHBORHOOD. By the Author of "The Collegians." Philadelphia: Carey, Lea, and Blanchard, 1836. 12mo, two volumes, original boards with cloth shelf back. First U.S. edition. Mixed collection of fiction and poetry including several novellas. The stories range from the comedic and farcical to the poignant and melancholy, all set in the specific region of Ireland which the author considers his "neighborhood." Several include criminous elements such a duels , thefts, and murders, but none are actually crime fiction. Two have fantastic content. "The Barber of Bantry" is a weird mystery about the disappearance of Edmond Moynehan, a tax-collector and magistrate, who vanishes without a trace. Years after the fact, Edmond's fate is revealed by Godfrey O'Berne, a barber who has been under the mistaken impression that he has been haunted by a mischievous spirit when, in fact, he suffers from sleepwalking and recurring nightmares. Rick Lillis, a faithful retainer of the Moynehan family, tells several supposedly "true" stories filled with macabre elements such as a doctor with a room full of corpses dripping blood who proceeds to cut a tiny live wolf out of a dying man's stomach and a dwarf who makes broth from a severed hand boiling in a pot on the hearth. Locals also believe that the original source of the Moynehans' wealth is a buried treasure revealed to an earlier ancestor by a ghost. Despite some genuinely eerie scenes and a several lengthy passages about the influence of spirits and fairies on humans, "The Barber of Bantry" is not actually supernatural. "The Cavern" is an allegorical fantasy in which a writer gets lost in an immense cavern and is guided by the Printer's Devil, a spirit dressed in a suit made from pages of newspapers, journals, and novels, who also has enormous wings fashioned from the same materials. The Printer's Devil guides the writer through an underworld hive filled with physical manifestations of all of society's evils. Brown, Ireland in Fiction 665. Block, p. 92. Binding quite spotted and worn, text quite foxed, a sound, complete reading copy. A very scarce book. (#165281).
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