Vathek. William Beckford, Ben Ray Redman, Mahlon Blaine, Introduction, Illustrations.
Vathek
Vathek
Vathek
Vathek
Vathek

Vathek

New York: The John Day Company, 1928. Blaine, Mahlon. First Edition. Leather bound. First printing with illustrations by Mahlon Blaine, octavo size, 250 pp., in a custom leather binding. Fine. Item #19063001

The development of Gothic fiction in the mid-eighteenth century saw many novels incorporating elements of horror and the supernatural as a way to explore human nature, elements found in this early Gothic novel by English novelist and art collector William Beckford (1760-1844). "Vathek", first published in 1786, combines aspects of Gothic fiction with the Orientalism that was popular at the time; this original pairing of the two results in "Vathek" standing "alongside Walpole's novel ['The Castle of Otranto' published in 1764] and Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' (1818) in the first rank of early Gothic fiction" (n.b., quote from Wiki).

Illustrating this volume is Mahlon Blaine (1894-1969), who creates detailed and dramatic line drawings that capture the spirit of the story. Blaine's style - including subject matter - is strongly reminiscent of Aubrey Beardsley, with much of his illustration art being both sensual and erotic; interestingly, he produced the visually compelling illustrations for John Steinbeck's "Cup of Gold", his first novel (n.b., information from the web site of the Brier Hill Gallery).

This volume is in a custom leather binding, with the binder's stamp of "Bennett, N.Y." on the front turn-in.

___DESCRIPTION: Full dark blue leather, narrow gilt ruled borders on the front and rear boards, gilt decoration on the front board, the spine with five raised bands, gilt rules, ornaments, and lettering, top edge gilt, leather turn-ins with an intricate floral pattern in gilt, binder's stamp on the front turn-in, marbled endpapers in blue, white, orange, and red, frontispiece a line drawing in black by Mahlon Blaine, title page with line drawing in black, line drawings in black, some vignettes and some full page, by Blaine throughout; octavo size (9.25" by 6.25"), pagination: [i-viii] ix-xx [1-2] 3-229 [230].

___CONDITION: A fine copy; the covers clean, the leather smooth and supple, the binding tight with solid hinges, the interior clean with some light overall toning, and entirely free of prior owner markings; corners are gently bumped with the barest hint of rubbing, else fine.

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Price: $325.00