MAZEPPA, A POEM. Lord Byron, George Gordon.

MAZEPPA, A POEM. London: John Murray, Albemarle-Street, 1819. Octavo, pp. [1-4] [1-5] 6-69 [70: blank] 71: ad [72: printer's imprint] + 8-page publisher's catalogue dated "July, 1819" on page [1] inserted at rear, original drab wrappers, untrimmed. First edition, second issue with printer's imprint on page [72]. Includes "A Fragment" (a.k.a. "The Burial"), pp. [57]-69. "The events of mid-June 1816, in the outskirts of Geneva, had enormous repercussions in the history of popular literature. Byron, Shelley, Dr. Polidori, Mary Shelley, and Claire Clairmont, after social evenings and telling of ghost stories, decided that each person was to write a supernatural tale of his or her own. Shelley and Clairmont did nothing; Mary Shelley started the work that eventually became FRANKENSTEIN; Byron wrote a few pages of a story about a vampire; and Polidori, abandoning his own first effort, took Byron's idea and wrote THE VAMPYRE. This story, which was first attributed to Byron and circulated widely on the Continent under Byron's name, set off the vampire theme in English Literature ... [In Byron's 'A Fragment'] the narrator is traveling in Asia Minor with a mysterious personage named Darvell, when Darvell suddenly predicts his own death and gives the narrator a complicated series of instructions. He is to bury the corpse immediately, throw a ring into a certain place at a certain time, and wait at yet another place. The fragment ends with Darvell's burial, but the plot was to follow much the same lines as Polidori's story took. Darvell was to come to London and vampirize society. A very interesting piece. It is unfortunate that it was never finished." - Bleiler, The Guide to Supernatural Fiction 320. Byron's fragment (of a novel) was appended to MAZEPPA by Murray without the sanction of Byron. On 20 March 1820, Byron wrote to Murray: "I shall not allow you to play the tricks you did last year with the prose you post-scribed to 'Mazeppa,' which I sent to you not to be published, if not in a periodical paper, -- and there you tacked it, without a word of explanation, and be damned to you." Clute and Grant (eds), The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997), p. 154. Wise, pp. 132-3. NCBEL III 282. Tinker 568. The half title leaf is present as is the 8-page publisher's catalogue at the rear. Several chips from spine panel, some mild scattered foxing to the text block, a very good copy. (#167274).

Price: $750.00

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