New Arrival

Tales of the Wild and the Wonderful.

London: Printed for Hurst, Robinson & Co. … And A. Constable and Co., Edinburgh, 1825.

Price: $4,500.00

About the item

First edition. [4], [vii], viii-x, [2], 356 pp. 1 vols. 8vo. Recent half reddish brown morocco and antique marbled boards, spine gilt with black morocco label. Bound without half title; title page on a stub. Fresh, internally clean copy. Bleiler, Supernatural Fiction 1576 (“historically important”); Wolff 601 (under Borrow), with a long note; see Betty T. Bennett. Mary Diana Dods, A Gentleman and a Scholar (1991).

Item #368641

A notable supernatural anthology by Mary Diana Dods, explicitly noting in the preface that authors more worthy of admiration, such as Byron and Shelley and Charles Robert Maturin (author of Melmoth the Wanderer, 1820) are all deceased. Dods was an illegitimate daughter of the fifteenth Earl of Moreton, author of numerous works for Blackwood’s Magazine under the name David Lyndsay, and the present anonymously published story collection, Tales of the Wild and the Wonderful (1825). Wolff, in 1981, followed T.J. Wise and tradition in ascribing authorship to George Borrow, while noting current work by Betty T. Bennett, who had traced correspondence between Blackwood’s and “Lyndsay”, and connections with Mary Shelley. Bennett’s subsequent work established Mary Diana Dods as the author of this anthology, which is dedicated to the celebrated contemporary author, Joanna Bailie.
Dods’ connection with Mary Shelley was close. Shelley shared lodgings in the south of England in the summer of 1827 with her friend Isabella Robinon, who had given birth to an illegitimate child. Beginning in 1827 Mary Dods had assumed the name and persona of Mr. Walter Sholto Douglas and, with Isabella Robinson, determined to live on the Continent where it was cheaper and where the legitimacy of Isabella’s child would not be questioned. Mary Shelley secured the passports for the couple to travel to France as Mr. and Mrs. Walter Sholto Douglas. In April 1828, Mary Shelley travelled to Paris with Isabella’s father and sister Julia, “who has become Mary Shelley’s new young companion” (Bennett, 38) to visit the Douglases. Mr. “Sholto Douglas” was later imprisoned for debt and died in France.