MacMillan and Co., London, 1904. Strange Tales. FIRST EDITION, second issue, with ads correctly dated '25.8.04'. Octavo, pp.vi; 393; , blank; , advertisements; 16, catalogue. Original red cloth, gilt, in the later state tan-coloured dust-wrapper printed in black, with books listed to rear at 7/6s. Book is fine, but for a little spotting. Jacket with a few small nicks and tears, some soiling to top edge at rear. A very good copy indeed. Uncommon in dust-wrapper. A quality collection of short stories including the remarkable 'Mrs. Bathurst', with its theme of destructive power and obsessive love, plus the strange tale 'Wireless' which concerns spirit possesion, as well as the classic ghost story 'They'; an unsettling tale about a lost motorist and his encounter with a blind woman at the isolated 'House Beautiful', being a companion, rather than a sequel, to the earlier 'Brushwood Boy' fantasy which sees the reappearance of the characters 'Them'. Adept at short fiction, Kipling penned many 'uncanny tales', some being subtle fantasies (They, The Brushwood Boy, The Eye of Allah), whilst others were more overtly supernatural or scientific romances in the manner of Edgar Allan Poe (The Phantom 'Rickshaw, The Mark of the Beast, The Night Mail). Kipling wrote of new inventions and future wars, warned of the social consequences of technological change, and exerted an the most lasting influence on modern science fiction and fantasy writing, according to leading SF writer Poul Anderson; indeed his stories of India, with notions of an (earthly) alien in a strange world are the most salient predecessors of golden age sci-fi. Kipling later stressed he was 'not diving after physical experiences', although he was exposed to and described uncanny events, and was much aware of the irrational premises and feelings of others; his formative professional years were spent in India, a country with a widespread belief in ghosts and spirit re-incarnation, and at a time when matters 'psychic' were fashionable throughout Europe. Item #46609
Stewart 295. Bleiler; The Guide to Supernatural Fiction , also Bleiler; Checklist of Fantastic Literature [p170]. Kipling; Something of Myself (p215), Wilson; The Strange Ride of Rudyard Kipling, Amis; Kipling and his World.
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