London: Kegan Paul, Trench, & Co., 1886. Limited Edition. Hardcover. Number 46 of 111 copies, spine stamped "Artists' Proof Edition", folio size, 234 pp. Very good +. Item #171116051
Originally published in 1884 by G.P. Putnam's Sons, "Onnalinda" created a sensation when first released. A contemporary review states "An anonymous romance -- [which] sustains its interest from first to last. Strange to say, the tale is the pleasanter to read for being in metre, and the reader is beguiled past many pitfalls in the shape of 'asides' by the author by the silvery ring of the verse. It is a tale of the forest, of savage chivalry, of mirthful, happy love-making".
Published about thirty years after Longfellow's poem "Hiawatha", it continued to feed the fascination of the Victorians for the perceived simplicity of the native American life and culture, while also feeding an interest in their (imagined) history. While "Hiawatha" has, to some degree, survived the past 130+ years, "Onnalinda" has not fared as well. Set during the time of the French and Indian War, per the web site of "Forgotten Books" comes this summary: "The invasion of the Genesee Valley, in Western New York, by the French under Denonville, and the heroic deeds of the Iroquois in defence of their homes, are historical. But history is vague and legendary concerning the achievements of Onnalinda, the Iroquois princess, whose brilliant adroitness baffled the French general, and whose fascinating beauty drew to her side the chivalrous Captain Stark. The loves and adventures of the gallant captain and the charming Onnalinda, together with the story of Ronald Kent and 'Glinting Star,' are in the province of Romance, and the theme of this tale."
This deluxe version, published two years after the first edition, again points to the popularity of the work. Bound in full morocco, with beautifully marbled endpapers and inner dentelles, issued in a strictly limited edition of 111 copies, with lovely engravings which are printed on tissue (a difficult feat for even an accomplished printer). A magnificent production from a time when making books beautiful was an art form, with a story that will delight.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full brown morocco, both boards with narrow ruled border of black outlined in gilt, surrounding a second rounded narrow gilt border, spine with gilt lettering and decorations within the compartments, lettered in gilt at the tail of the spine is "Artists' Proof Edition", board edges with narrow gilt rule, inner gilt dentelles, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers, limitation statement preceeding the half-title page, only 111 copies were printed at the Devinne Press, with a facsimile autograph of the printer on the limitation page, illustrations engraved by Frank French from drawings by William T. Smedley printed on tissue, each with a lettered tissue guard; folio size (12" by 9.75"), pagination: [i-xvi], 1-208,  pages at rear include facsimile letter and seven extracts from contemporary reviews, including the one cited above.
___CONDITION: Very good plus to near fine, with the binding on the boards smooth and supple, corners straight with minimal rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and the volume is free of prior owner markings; some light rubbing to the spine, most noticeably at the head and tail and a few stray spots of rubbing to the marbled endpapers. A lovely book, beautifully presented.
___POSTAGE: Please note that due to the weight of this volume additional postage may apply; please inquire for details.
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