Sunday, September 16, 2012

We have a ton of new releases due out soon that we thought we'd update you about.  

Ernest George Henham's Poe-influenced 1898 tale of Gothic horror and insanity, Tenebrae, will feature a new introduction and notes by Gerald Monsman and the gorgeous cover art of the original edition.  The novel concerns the narrator and his brother, both in love with the same woman.  They live on a remote estate in a large old house with their insane uncle, driven mad by abuse of alcohol and drugs.  When the narrator discovers his brother's affair with the girl he himself loves, he brutally murders him.  After the crime, he begins to see a giant spider, haunting him.  Is it the spirit of his murdered brother, or just a hallucination?  

Most Valancourt readers are by now familiar with Richard Marsh, most famous for his tales of mystery and the supernatural, such as The Beetle (1897).  But with our new volume of The Complete Adventures of Sam Briggs (1904-15), Marsh fans will discover a new side of this fascinating writer.  The Sam Briggs stories originally appeared in Strand Magazine, where they ran alongside A. Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories.  The first 11 stories in the collection reveal Marsh at his comic best, as Sam, a young, lower-middle-class clerk of 19, experiences a variety of adventures and misadventures, usually in hilarious fashion.  The second 12 stories show Sam enlisting in the British Army and serving in Flanders in the First World War, and chart his improbable adventures as he rises through the ranks and eventually earns the Victoria Cross.  The volume features many of the original illustrations and a new introduction and notes by Minna Vuohelainen.

Francis Lathom's The One Pound Note and Other Tales (1820) is a collection of three long stories or novellas that capitalized on two major trends of the moment: the increasing appetite for shorter fiction as opposed to four or five-volume novels, and the incredible popularity of Sir Walter Scott's Scottish fiction.  The curious title story, "The One Pound Note," contains very obvious and very surprising gay subtexts in a tale of two young men who form an intense friendship that ends in tragedy.  "The Prophecy" is a Scottish adventure-romance story, heavily tinged with Gothic elements; a third story rounds out the volume, along with a new introduction and notes by Max Fincher.

Finally, we are hard at work on G.W.M. Reynolds's The Mysteries of London (1845), a wonderful penny dreadful that is a real page turner.  And it's a good thing, since it runs to 1,200 pages, not a single one of them dull (we promise!)  This was perhaps the bestselling novel of the mid-Victorian era, much to the chagrin of the literary establishment and rivals like Dickens; it sold 50,000 copies a week and well over a million in all, but has been out of print for over a century.  Fans of Dickens's Bleak House and the works of other mid-19th century adventure novels by authors like Dumas and Sue will not want to miss this one.

And lastly, we'll be headed to Madison, Wis. for the North American Victorian Studies Association conference later this month, so if you're there, stop by our table and say hi!

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