ARMADALE. A Novel. Wilkie Collins.


With Illustrations. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1866. 2 pp preliminary ads. Original grey-green cloth.

First American Edition, published about eight days after Smith Elder's two-volume English edition -- and with 36 illustrations, compared to the UK edition's twenty. This is "Collins's longest novel... The complex plot combines several of Collins's favourite themes, including the supernatural, identity, murder and detection" [Gasson]. Collins ends his Preface by saying, "Estimated by the Clap-trap morality of the present day, this may be a very daring book. Judged by the Christian morality which is of all time, it is only a book that is daring enough to speak the truth."

This copy is in grey-green cloth (one of several colors used, priced at $2.00); there were also copies in wrappers priced at $1.60. Condition is near-fine (minor wear at the extremities). Gasson pp 9-11; Parrish & Miller pp 57-58; Bleiler 409 ("Roughly midway in time between THE WOMAN IN WHITE and THE MOONSTONE, ARMADALE is Collins's third great mystery novel. In the opinion of many critics it is the finest of the three..."). Provenance: all four facing endpapers carry the ink-stamp "R. CHAPEL" -- and at the top of the front free endpaper is written "Royal Chapel | 1866": this would presumably refer to the Royal Chapel of All Saints (or Queen Victoria's Chapel), built in the 1820s on the grounds of the Royal Lodge at Windsor Great Park. Item #14298

Price: $450.00