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GOODRICH, HENRY NEWTON. - Raven Rockstrow: or, the Pedlar's Dream. A romance of Melbourne.

Melbourne, Caxton Repository 1864. Octavo later (earlyish-mid c20th) morocco; [8],7-258pp, (wood?) engraved frontispiece by Calvert after a drawing by John Fallon. Name and a couple of extraneous squirls on the title, some browning; a pretty good copy with the bookplate of Harry Austin Brentnall, medico and bookmaker whose books used to be ubiquitous in the Sydney trade. ¶ Only edition of this quite rare sensation thriller, dubbed the first Melbourne novel proper. Certainly it's a grim metropolitan book set in the slums where life revolves around the pawn shop. From two brief paragraphs I picked out these descriptions of Goodrich's Melbourne: dreary, isolation, misery, oppressive, ghostly waste, and forlorn. Blackmail, murder, a story within a story; it's all here. This has one of the most captivating illustrations I've seen in a thriller. The frontispiece, on pink paper, is a dark, dark engraving that demands close inspection; maybe the best depiction of what mysterious deeds in the dark of night really look like. The binding is neat and workmanlike more than inspired. Most of the twentieth century was not a good period for Australian binding.
AUD 1150.00 [Appr.: EURO 719.75 US$ 816.63 | £UK 615.25 | JP¥ 90877] Book number 9561

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