LEWIS, Matthew Gregory.

Tales of Wonder.

London : Printed by W. Bulmer and Co. for the Author; and sold by J. Bell, 1801 Stock Code: 121349
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Fantastic tales by "Monk" Lewis

First edition, this copy in a handsome contemporary binding and somewhat later gifted by Lord Chandos Leigh (17911850), poet and school-friend of Lord Byron, to his nephew Frederick Leigh Colvile (18191886), author, antiquary, and Warwickshire vicar. The book has the recipient's bookplate and is inscribed, "from my uncle Chandos Leigh".

This is a pleasing Romantic period association for this controversial collection of horror ballads this "hobgoblin repast", as Lewis called it largely written by Gothic celebrity Matthew Gregory "Monk" Lewis, with contributions from the young Walter Scott, William Taylor of Norwich, John Leyden, and Robert Southey. Nicknamed "Tales of Plunder" by contemporaries who failed to appreciate its mix of original and traditional works, translations and adaptations, and even burlesques of the Gothic, modern critics recognise that the work "constantly crosses literary and critical boundaries, playfully blurring distinctions between the serious and the burlesque" (Paul Barnaby, Edinburgh University Library).

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2 volumes, tall octavo (250 x 153 mm). Contemporary streaked calf, spines gilt-tooled in compartments, two black morocco title labels to each, elaborately gilt-tooled and rolled borders to sides, gilt "D" crest with winged crown to centre of boards, gilt-rolled turn-ins, marbled endpapers and edges.


Some tenderness to joints with a crack to front joint of vol. 2, a few other marks and scuffs, but internally fresh and generally an excellent copy.


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