THE HORRORS OF OAKENDALE ABBEY. By the Author of Elizabeth. Carver Mrs.
THE HORRORS OF OAKENDALE ABBEY. By the Author of Elizabeth.

THE HORRORS OF OAKENDALE ABBEY. By the Author of Elizabeth. London: Printed for William Lane, at the Minerva-Press, Leadenhall-Street, MCCCXCVIII [1797]. Octavo, pp. [1-4] [1] 2-172, collates [A]2 B-I12 K-L12 M6, half title present, contemporary marbled boards with polished calf shelf back and corners. First edition. An anonymously published ultra rare tale of terror and suspense attributed by a Minerva Library catalogue of 1814 to Mrs. Carver. A maiden-centered high Gothic in which the female protagonist, a refugee from revolutionary France, becomes entangled in the doings of the sinister Lord Oakendale and the seemingly supernatural events which take place at his eponymous Abbey, the site of several past murders and now reputedly haunted. "This technically sound Gothic romance draws its dangerous atmosphere from the Reign of Terror 'when Paris was deluged with human gore.' In a long discussion of the work in THE GOTHIC QUEST, Summers regarded it as an excellent modification of Mrs. Radcliffe's theories of the artificial supernatural, 'a romance in which mysteries and hauntings are not too improbably if disappointingly explained.' ... There are no slow turnings of the screw of suspense in Mrs. Carver's methods of horror as she prefers to endow her Gothic with a hideous momentum ... The better part of the novel is devoted to the unraveling this mystery ... [a ring of body snatchers is using the Abbey as a dissection center]" (Frank, The First Gothics 49). "An effective remolding of Radcliffean Gothic romance to accommodate the all-too-real horrors of Citizen Robespierre and the Terror" (Tymn, editor, Horror Literature 1-57). Blakely, The Minerva Press 1790-1820, p. 181. Raven, Forster and Bending 1797: 33 (locating a single copy: University of Pennsylvania). Summers, A Gothic Bibliography, p. 361. Summers, The Gothic Quest, pp. 136-38. Partially effaced early owner's inscription dated 4 October 1800 on the front paste-down. Boards rubbed, calf worn, chip from upper spine end, inner front hinge cracked but holding tight, front free endpaper missing, a few leaves a bit proud, some minimal spotting and foxing to text block, overall, a very good copy. Enclosed in a custom clamshell box. No copy of this book appears in the auction records for the past fifty years and the only recorded institutional copy is the copy held by the University of Pennsylvania. (#168378).

Price: $17,500.00

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