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John Inglesant; A Romance.
Privately printed. Cornish Brothers. Birmingham First edition 1880 - pp. (viii), (9)-577, (i) blank. Original vellum with red lettering, top edge gilt, uncut, small tear at the head of the spine and a couple of nicks at the foot, paste-downs foxed, book-plate of ROBERT C. R. JORDAN M.D. and a presentation inscription to him from 'the author', a good copy. *Privately printed by Shorthouse in an edition of 100 copies, 75 for friends and 25 for sale. Then issued in 1881 in a trade edition which became hugely popular, rapidly selling 9,000 copies in the first year and 80,000 copies overall. SHORTHOUSE (1834-1903) was born and died in Birmingham, the eldest son of Joseph Shorthouse and his wife, Mary Ann, both of whom belonged to the Society of Friends. Joseph had inherited a chemical works and at sixteen, his son went into this family business. He had, however, been much attracted to literary work, reading widely, and writing for the Friends' Essay Society. An epileptic attack in 1862 left him invalided, and with time and resources from his family business, he started to write a Philosophical Romance, in 1866, much influenced by Ruskin, the Pre-Raphaelites and his conception of seventeenth-century Anglicanism. He worked at this novel for ten years, finishing in 1876 but failing to generate any commercial enthusiasm. It lay dormant until 1880 and was published privately in Birmingham in that year. A copy was shown to Mrs. Humphry Ward who, considerably impressed, passed it to the publisher Alexander Macmillan. He was immediately keen to publish and it came out in a trade 2-decker in 1881, to a clamorous reception. It struck all the right notes for the times - romantic, sermonising, philosophical and devoid of humour, it delighted a wide audience including Thomas Henry Huxley and Philip Gosse, Cardinal Manning and Gladstone and Charlotte Yonge. The book acquired a cult status, the first novel of a mystic drawn from the Birmingham business-industrial class. [Attributes: Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Patrick Pollak Rare Books ABA ILAB]
Last Found On: 2014-10-02           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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