Ash-Tree Press
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by Harriet Prescott Spofford
edited, with an Introduction,
by Jessica Amanda Salmonson

ISBN: 1-55310-008-5; xxxvi + 183pp
Published 15 September 2000

Price: Cdn$53.00 / US$40.00 / £25.00 (Postage Code B)

In 1859, a twenty-four-year old author burst upon the American literary scene with a short story, 'In a Cellar', which caused a sensation. Although not a supernatural tale, it was followed in quick succession with two weird stories and the novel Sir Rohan's Ghost, all of which earned Harriet Prescott comparisons with Matthew 'Monk' Lewis, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Ann Radcliffe; while there were those who, due to the rich Romanticism of her work, were ready to crown her as the successor to Edgar Allan Poe. In 1862, one critic predicted that Prescott would one day write ‘the greatest novel by any American so far’.

Today, however, Harriet Prescott Spofford's reputation rests mainly on a handful of early tales, written before she was persuaded to abandon her inclination for the weird and uncanny, and focus instead on the New England regional tales which were so popular with late nineteenth century readers and publishers. Jessica Amanda Salmonson has now rescued Spofford's weird tales and poems, collecting them together in one volume: a project which the author herself pursued in the last years of her life, but which came to nothing. In addition, Salmonson has written a lengthy introduction, in which she draws on extensive research to examine the life and ghostly fiction of a woman who was, in her day, one of the most respected and popular authors in America.

CONTENTS: THE MOONSTONE MASS AND OTHERS: 'The Moonstone Mass'; 'D'Outre Mort'; 'Circumstance'; 'Six by Seven'; 'The Strange Passengers'; 'The Black Bess'; 'The Godmothers'; 'The Magnetic Patient'; 'The Ray of Displacement'; ' The Mad Lady'; 'The Conquering Will'; THE EMPTY ROOM AND OTHERS: 'The Empty Room'; 'The Paths of Death'; 'Fantasia'; 'Over Again'; 'Second-Sight'; 'Marion'; 'Gramarye'; 'The Tryst'; 'Dust to Dust'; 'Brontė'; 'The Shadow of Candlemas Night'; 'The Tourney'; 'The King's Dust'; 'The Little Ghost'.

Jacket art by Deborah McMillion-Nering. Limited to 500 copies.

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