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]. The plot is driven by the ambitions of flame-haired Lydia Gwilt, one of the great femmes fatales of English literature:

...her wicked ways horrified Victorian readers. It’s no surprise given her status in the story as a liar, bigamist, husband poisoner and temptress. She was truly the antithesis of the demure, domestic and good-natured Victorian woman [Khambay].

This copy is in grey-green cloth (one of several colors used without precedence, priced at $2.00); there were also copies in wrappers priced at $1.60. Condition is near-fine (minor wear at the spine ends and at one spot on a joint, a few inked amounts on the rear free endpaper). 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..."). Item #14812

Price: $450.00