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LLOYD, John Uri.


or the End of earth. The Strange History of a Mysterious Being and the Account of a Remarkable Journey. As communicated in manuscript to Lleweln Drury who promised to print the same, but finally evaded the responsibility which was assumed by John Uri Lloyd.

Published: Cincinnati: John Uri Lloyd, 1895

Stock code: 103738

Price: £1,250

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First edition, of “one of the most splendid of a number of opulent fantasy extravaganzas issued in America in the late 19th century” (Locke). Rare: Copac locates only 2 copies in British and Irish institutional libraries (Cambridge, National Library of Scotland), OCLC adds only one copy (Columbia), and George Locke states that it was “issued in an impression of 1299 copies” to subscribers and colleagues (the list is included at the end). This is the most extraordinary work of the eminent American pharmacologist John Uri Lloyd (1849-1936), “a long eccentric romance with interspersed sections that describe scientific experiments in chemistry and physics”, whose hero, in the midst of metaphysical wranglings, is surprised by a bearded stranger called “I-Am-The-Man”. This character explains that he has been taken to the centre of the earth by “an eyeless, sexless, nude humanoid” (Bleiler). Many things happen to “I-Am-The-Man”, including the sampling of “liquid from a mushroom fruit [that induces] astonishing dreams of Dante-like hells, with misshapen organisms and gigantic hands emergent from the ground” (Bleiler). Etidorhpa (Aphrodite spelled backwards) became hugely popular, going through many editions and was translated into seven languages; there were Etidorhpa literary clubs in the United States and some parents even named their daughters Etidorhpa.

Large octavo. Original dark green cloth over bevelled boards, gilt lettered spine, front cover lettered and decorated in gilt and silver, top edges gilt, purple endpapers. Portrait frontispiece of “I-Am-The-Man”, numerous monochrome illustrations throughout by J. Augustus Knapp. Spine slightly rolled, fabric of front cover just lightly rumpled. An excellent copy, uncommon in such condition.

Bibliography: Bleiler 1028: "it has long been a collector's item"; Howgego, Invented and Apocryphal Narratives of Travel, L43: "highly regarded by devotees of metaphysical fiction and the hollow-earth genre"; Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy, I p. 141: "I have not seen this [first edition]".

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