(#170515) KIT BAM'S ADVENTURES; OR, THE YARNS OF AN OLD MARINER ... Illustrated by George Cruikshank. Mary Cowden Clarke.

KIT BAM'S ADVENTURES; OR, THE YARNS OF AN OLD MARINER ... Illustrated by George Cruikshank. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, MDCCCLVI [1856]. Small octavo, pp. [i-v] vi [7] 8-360, four inserted plates with illustrations by George Cruikshank, original pictorial cloth, front and rear panels stamped in blind, spine panel stamped in gold, cream endpapers. First U.S. edition. Kit Bam is a retired sailor who tells wild yarns every afternoon to two young teenagers, Fanny and Dick, breaking off at the approach of night, just as Scheherezade stopped at the approach of day. His tales tend somewhat towards the metafictional ("Kit has a knack of relating marvels that I very much suspect never had any existence but in his own brain ..."), as does the book as a whole, bracketed between conversations by the children's parents defending the value of fiction. Most intriguing perhaps is a passage late in the book (pp. 343-44) when Kit encounters Frankenstein's monster in the Arctic wastes -- evidence that Shelley's archetypal creation was already soaking into the cultural landscape. Soon thereafter he comes across an old man clearly intended as Coleridge's Ancient Mariner. What's interesting here is that the tone of these encounters is portentous rather than whimsical. "A series of narrated adventures which make the book a cross between a fairy tale, an imaginary voyage and a lost race romance. Many strange peoples and creatures are encountered, some from myths (including the mer-people). There is also a race of invisible people, one of whom the narrator marries." - Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy, Volume II, p. 30. Bleiler (1978), p. 44. Reginald 03060. Cohn 136. Block, The English Novel 1740-1850, p. 42. Wolff 1249 (UK edition). Book label of Anne and F. G. Renier affixed to the front paste-down. Cloth worn at spine ends and lower corners, a sound, good copy. (#170515).

Price: $150.00

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