[DE MILLE, JAMES]. - A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder.
NY, Harper 1888. Octavo publisher's illustrated cloth blocked in gilt, silver and brown; 19 full page illustrations by Gilbert Gaul. Some slight signs of use; a rather good copy. ¶ First edition, English and Canadian editions appeared in the same year. One of the must-have Antarctic lost race thrillers, it has excited recent critical attention - something that it did not do on publication - largely due to De Mille's unique status as a Canadian author of such a fantastic novel at that time. Published well after his death in 1880, there is evidence that he wrote it in the 1860s. This excuses him from accusations of plagiarism of recent books but there is little point in ransacking the sensational fiction of the 19th century for likenesses; the forms were well set out in the imaginary voyages of a century or two earlier. De Mille's Antarctic society is a dystopia, an inversion of 19th century Christian society, but the book is a true thriller, with wondrous creatures, beauteous women and gruesome death (you can swap those adjectives around to suit yourself). De Mille himself was a respectable academic who scribbled potboiling trash by the ton - all but this novel pretty well forgotten; it is suggested that he had to pay off the debt accrued through a youthful plunge into bookselling.AUD 450.00 [Appr.: EURO 318.25 US$ 343.9 | £UK 277.5 | JP¥ 38218] Book number 9006
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