Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan. The House By The Churchyard.
London: Tinsley Brothers, 1863.
First edition, second issue (misrepresented as “Second Edition”). A whopping three volumes bound as 1 in an original purple embossed cloth remainder binding (a variant no less, not covered by Sadleir in his “bless you Michael for doing it but Oh God shoot me now” examination of the publication history of this delightful work). A single half title to Vol. I (also not Sadleir compliant). A rich, deep purple, very professional repair work to spine hinges, titled and decorated in gilt to spine, with some small, superficial fraying at the head and some inoffensive bumping elsewhere, a very good copy, a little scuffed and bumped but otherwise gorgeous and robust in its shameless heft. Internally clean with some foxing spots to prelims, an old Quaritch catalogue entry from the 80’s pasted in to the front pastedown and a small enigmatic bookseller label (P&C, which I’m guessing is Pickering and Chatto, but in a distinctly modernist style) to the the upper front pastedown. Regardless of bibliographical meanderings and forays into the dark minutiae, this is a striking copy of a glorious work of fiction, written when Le fanu was at his literary scalpel wielding height, recounting the events rolling downhill from the sinister discovery of a trepanned skull. Le Fanu will turn out to have been an influence on everything, but the influence of this work on Finnegan’s Wake is a matter of public record.