THE FOREST MAIDEN. By Lee Robinet [pseudonym]. Chicago: Browne & Howell Company, 1914. Octavo, pp. [1-2] [1-2] 3-349  [note: title leaf is a cancel], flyleaf at rear, inserted frontispiece with color illustration by George Brehm, original olive green cloth, front and spine panels stamped in black. First edition. "A novel of fantastic adventure set in the back woods of British Columbia, with utopian/dystopian aspects as well as interesting parallels to TARZAN. Adam, the menacing leader of his three-person community, has extraordinary powers of telepathic mesmerism over both humans and animals. He can also induce scrying and articulate speech in his two-year-old child. He can shape-shift into a wolf and can also walk on water. He is what we would today call a cult leader; his religion is based loosely on a kind of pre-Mosaic Old Testament theism. With absolute and tyrannical power he rules his consort, Eve; their precocious baby; and a beautiful 18-year-old with golden red hair, Lilith. Juxtaposed to their Neolithic technology is a science-fictional powder that Adam cooks up in his cave laboratory: it deadens the scenting power of animals and thus protects a human in the wilderness. The story's hero, Kenmore, on holiday with his half-breed guide, gets lost and chances upon Lilith. She warns him to go back but the hero is already falling in love with her and is not content to leave until he can take her -- and Eve and the baby -- with him. Before then he must match wits and wills against Adam, a formidable antagonist. Adam, like Tarzan, is a feral human who develops extraordinary powers on returning to a primitive natural state. His two female subjects, are also quite extraordinary and, like Adam (and Lord Greystoke), were English aristocrats in their previous lives, which lie forgotten behind a veil of amnesia drawn over them by Adam's mesmeric will. We learn in the end that the three of them had survived a shipwreck ten years earlier. The model of Nietzsche's superman is also invoked more than once in connection with Adam. This book preceded by five months the publication of TARZAN OF THE APES by McClurg, though the serial publication of TARZAN in 1912 had by then spread the story rather widely. Curiously, McClurg had published half a dozen of Bennet's novels by this time. Perhaps they didn't want to bring out two such similar titles in the same year and asked Bennet to take the book to someone else -- and issue it under a pseudonym (the only time he did so in his career as far as we can tell). Why else Bennet would use a pseudonym and a minor publisher in the middle of a successful career is a puzzle. It's also puzzling why this is such a rare book, with no copies recorded in OSU's Charvat Collection of American Fiction, the Eaton Collection at Riverside, the Nitka collection at UCLA, or the Library of Congress. THE FOREST MAIDEN is not as spectacular as THYRA, Bennet's other work of fantasy, and generally regarded as a minor classic, but this is a fine novel with a mixture of thrills and thought-provoking ideas, and a style that is precise, unsentimental and compulsively readable (not a common virtue for fiction of this period)." - Robert Eldridge. Bleiler, The Guide to Supernatural Fiction 1402. Sargent, British and American Utopian Literature, 1516-1985, Additions. Teitler and Locke, By the World Forgot (2013) 1044. Bleiler (1978), p. 168. Not in Reginald (1979; 1992). Smith, American Fiction, 1901-1925 B-502. Early owner's inscriptions on the front endpapers. Cloth soiled and lightly worn, some staining to cloth along bottom edge of rear cover, inner hinges professionally mended, a good copy. (#167253).
"PUBLISHED, APRIL, 1914" on copyright page.