THE SLAVE OF THE LAMP. A POSTHUMOUS NOVEL. New York: H. Long & Brother, 121 Nassau-Street, 1855. 12mo, pp. [i-vii] viii-xii [xiii] xiv-xv [xvi] [17] 18-437 [438: blank] [439-444: ads] [note: first leaf is a blank], flyleaves at front and rear, original gray green cloth, front and rear panels stamped in blind, spine panel stamped in gold, cream endpapers. First edition. Early science fiction novel centered around group of Bohemian artists and writers in 1850s New York City with characters based on members of the Ornithorhynchus Club, including author Fitz-James O'Brien ('Fitz-Gammon O'Bouncer') and journalist Henry Clapp ('Peregrine Cope'). The principal character, Dudley Mondel, is based on William North himself, and Mondel’s family history and elements of his life are drawn directly from North’s own experiences. Mondel is a Renaissance man, a free thinker and adventurer who is a poet, playwright, philosopher, and inventor skilled in engineering and sailing. He falls in love with Columbia Yonkers, the daughter of a wealthy Wall Street trader who eventually suffers financial ruin because of his unwitting involvement with a counterfeiter. Jealous of Mondel’s growing love for her daughter, Columbia’s beautiful stepmother, Amelia, plots to destroy their budding relationship by convincing Columbia that Mondel is actually a married man. When Columbia breaks off her relationship with him, Mondel, despairing of ever finding true happiness, gathers a crew of his closest colleagues and some hired hands to search for a mysterious island made of gold in the South Pacific by means of an experimental ship Mondel has designed whose engines run entirely on water pressure. Mondel’s ship also features air cannons constructed from India rubber, and Mondel dreams of eventually constructing a sailing vessel that is half a mile long and powered by a 100,000 horse-powered engine. North’s novel contains numerous philosophical discussions among its various characters about the downfalls of capitalism and how crime can be erased if poverty is eliminated and individuals are allowed to achieve perfect freedom. A curious, compelling work with a distinct socialist utopian bent. North, the author of ANTI-CONINGSBY (1855), a satire of Disrael’s account of the political and social conditions of early Victorian England, committed suicide two years after he relocated to the United States in 1852. The manuscript of THE SLAVE OF THE LAMP was found in North’s room and published within a year of his death." - Boyd White. Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy Volume II, p. 86. Sadleir 1835. Private library label of W. W. H. Walbridge affixed to the front paste-down and his signature dated 1857 on the front free endpaper. Endpapers tanned, flyleaves and text foxed (as is usually the case), a very good copy. Some penciled marginalia in the text and a perceptive three-page review of the novel penciled on the rear flyleaf and recto of the rear free endpaper by William H. Health dated 27 December 1911. A nice copy of a very scarce book. (#169948).

Price: $850.00

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