THE REFUGEES. A Tale of Two Continents. A. Conan Doyle.
THE REFUGEES. A Tale of Two Continents.

THE REFUGEES. A Tale of Two Continents.

[In Three Volumes.] London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1893. 24 pp Vol I ads dated March 1893. Original pea green cloth stamped in dark green.

First Edition, which consisted of 1,000 copies published on 17 May 1893. THE REFUGEES was part of Doyle's attempt to revert to "serious literature" after his ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, which he considered to be unbecoming hackwork; however, a dozen more Holmes tales were appearing in The Strand Magazine during 1893 -- which as THE MEMOIRS (December 1893) would seal Doyle's fate. Here's how Doyle himself described THE REFUGEES prior to publication:

I take a New Englander, a Puritan, as one type of the seventeenth century, and a New Yorker, the woodman, as another, and I precipitate these two into the court of Louis XIV, and mix them up in the European history of that time -- very much as Scott threw Quentin Durward, the young Scotchman, into the French court. I have taken a lot of pains to make these two types exact studies. Then I shift the scene back to America. It will be something new in the way of an American historical novel. You see it will be the story of the two continents. The woodman will use the phrases of the wood, and the New Englander is rather Biblical.

(It is noteworthy that Doyle had to rely upon historian Francis Parkman's books on America for his background; Doyle had not yet traveled there himself.)

It is curious (to us at least) that this is such a cheaply-produced edition -- simple green on green, no gilt lettering, no cover decoration; the answer may be simply that 1893 was the year before the three-volume format died, because the public had decided it wanted to buy rather than rent books -- causing the demise of the lending libraries.

This is a good-to-very good set; although the lending libraries were in their death throes, one of them snagged this set and applied its labels (now removed) to the front covers. There is some general rubbing and soil -- yet the volumes do have their original patterned endpapers, and the volumes have NOT been rebacked or anything (The REFUGEES was issued without half-titles). Not as nice a set as we would like to be offering, but better copies have become very scarce. Green & Gibson A12a. Item #14843

Price: $2,950.00

See all items by