TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL. SIX ROMANTIC STORIES. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. Ltd. 4 Stationers' Hall Court, 1894. Octavo, pp. original red wrappers printed in black, all edges stained red. First edition. "In his short memoir, JAMES PLATT THE YOUNGER: A STUDY IN THE PERSONALITY OF A GREAT SCHOLAR (Simpkin Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & C0., 1910), William Platt describes James Platt’s TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL, his brother’s only volume of short fiction, as a collection of 'six extraordinarily gruesome stories' that 'could only be written by a scholar steeped in Mediaevalism and the wild traditions of mediaeval demonology ... At the time of their publication the Press [sic] as a whole treated them very kindly, struck no doubt by their extreme originality. Several thousand copies I know were sold.' Set in mediaeval Europe, the stories in TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL are grim tragedies featuring necromancers, witches, and doomed lovers, oddly moving decadent fantasies in which the protagonists and antagonists all suffer horribly in the end. Platt’s writing is particularly vivid, filled with striking imagery and memorable conceits, such as the shape-shifting sorceress in 'The Hand of Glory' who is riven into a shower of blood by an angry demon, and the forlorn young woman in 'Witches’ Sabbath' who is willing to be decapitated in order to give her own head as a keepsake to the insane religious penitent who accidentally murdered her sister. In their tone and narrative situations, Platt’s stories bear a remarkable resemblance to the fiction Clark Ashton Smith would begin writing and publishing in the 1920s. Reprinted by Ghost Story Press in 1994, only a handful of extant copies of the first edition of TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL are known to exist, both in institutional and private holdings. A highly regarded collection of supernatural fiction, and justly so" (Boyd White). Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy Volume II, p. 90 (red wrappers, lacking the spine panel). Bleiler (1978), p. 159. Reginald 11540. Topp, Victorian Yellowbacks & Paperbacks, 1849-1905, volume VIII, p. 169. Professionally restored with spine panel renewed and text block re-sewn. Enclosed in a custom cloth clamshell box. None of the few known copies retaining their original wrappers have the original spine panel. (#168442).

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