(#30156) TALES OF WONDER. Matthew Gregory Lewis.

TALES OF WONDER. London: Printed by W. Bulmer and Co. Cleveland-Row, for the Author ... , 1801. Large octavo, two volumes: pp. [1-4] [1] 2-236; [1-4] 237-482 [483: ads] [484: blank], original drab boards with cloth shelf backs, leather labels on spine panels, all edges untrimmed. First edition, large paper issue. "The first known published and single most important horror verse anthology in English. Volume one contains 32 poems by Matthew Lewis, Walter Scott, John Leyden, and others. Volume two contains 28 standard poems by Ben Johnson, Dryden, Burns, Glover, Mallet, Ransay, Dr. Harrington, and Gray. TALES OF WONDER was a decisive, if not always admitted, influence on the Romantics and is the seminal horror poetry volume in English. In its day the lavish, high-priced set was jeered at as 'Tales of Plunder' –- alluding also to the sometimes careless 'translations' in volume one and the padding with commonplace ballads in volume two. Yet the very venom of the attacks –- and of the scathing parodies -– plus the many reprints and new editions, suggest that TALES OF WONDER was a vital, popular collection." - Tymn (ed), Horror Literature 6-32. "Although poetry may be the genre for which Lewis is now least remembered, he was a poet of some prominence in his day, eminent in the cult of the ballad and said to have influenced Scott, James Hogg, and others." - Bleiler (ed), Supernatural Fiction Writers: Fantasy and Horror, p. 158. "Lewis's ballads are all imbued with a queer mixture of German and Scottish diablerie. They combine wild imagery with real pathos, linking the absurd with the wonderful, the horrific with the sublime ... His poems are now almost forgotten, but prominent Romantics fell under his spell." - Sullivan (ed), The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural, pp. 264-6. Summers, A Gothic Bibliography, pp. 525-27; 529. Bleiler (1948), p. 181. NCBEL III 743. Private owner's bookplates affixed to front paste-downs. Both volumes have been professionally rebacked with original cloth spines preserved (both with slight loss at head and tail), boards are worn at extremities, especially corners, occasional light foxing to text block; nevertheless, still a very attractive copy. Uncommon in original boards. (#30156).

Price: $1,000.00

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