Hello book lovers,

First, I apologize for the long and unexpected hiatus from updating Book Aesthete. Sometimes life just throws you a few loops and you find yourself completely unmotivated towards any non-life-sustaining activities. I will attempt to regain momentum, although it’s possible that the scope and focus may shift a bit.

Second, an excellent reason to update once again: “Black Labyrinth”. A new imprint has been launched, featuring original horror/thriller stories by a variety of authors, all illustrated by one of my all-time favorite literary illustrators Santiago Caruso. Check it out - I can’t wait for the first release, a novel by the suitably disturbing Tom Piccirilli. I will post pictures and thoughts once I have it in my eager little hands.

Bram Stoker. New York, Doubleday & McClure Co., 1899. First American Edition.

The rare first American edition of this immortal classic and cornerstone of supernatural fiction. Cover art, with Dracula’s castle high atop a hill with bats flying and the gilt-stamped sun setting. 7¼x5, original decorative tan cloth, front cover stamped and lettered in dark blue, gilt and green.


Edgar Allan Poe Portfolio (Signed Limited Edition)
Bernie Wrightson, Illust.

Christopher Enterprises, 1976. Limited edition, (12" x 16.5"), 8 full-color plates in pale yellow illustrated folder. A near fine copy.

Legendary horror artist Bernie Wrightson turns his eye to Edgar Allan Poe in this beautifully illustrated limited edition portfolio of eight (8) full-color plates measuring 12" x 16.5", published in 1976 by Christopher Enterprises. One of 2000 copies produced, this being number 688, SIGNED by Wrightson on the inside portfolio cover. With a small bend to upper right corner of each print and the just the slightest of handling wear but otherwise in overall excellent condition, bright and clean throughout. A rare limited edition portfolio touched by the wonderfully strange mind of the legendary horror illustrator.

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson. London, Longmans, Green & Co.1886

First issue with “5” in 1885 ink changed from “6” by hand from the publisher. Also, an ad for the second edition of “A Child’s Garden of Verses” at rear. This wrapper bound issue precedes the cloth issue by about a week. “Like Shelley’s Frankenstein, this is an updating of the Faust theme which speculates on the dangers of science out of control…Stevenson’s theme of the human mind fragmenting into mutually exclusive, mutually destructive bits has been treated by countless later writers” – Lilly 21; Prideaux 17; Beinecke 349; Bleiler, Science Fiction (Early Years), pp.706-07; A Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone.

[8], 141, [1 blank] + [1] ad pp. 18x11.5 cm. (7x4½"), original buff wrappers rebacked with early matching paper, front cover stamped in blue and red, glassine wrapper, custom maroon drop-back box. First English Edition, earliest binding state, first issue.

I Am Legend
Richard Matheson. New York: Walker and Company, 1970.

First hardcover edition, Octavo, Hardcover. A fine copy in a fine dust jacket.

Classic science fiction by one of the masters, about the lone survivor of a bacterial pandemic living among “vampires” in futuristic Los Angeles. A unique blend of horror and science fiction, which revived the vampire genre.

Die Verwandlung.
Franz Kafka. Kurt Wolff Verlag, Leipzig: 1915]

First edition of “Metamorphosis”, 8vo (210 x 128mm.), 3 leaves of publisher’s advertisements at end, dust-jacket illustrated by Ottomar Starke (dated 1916 as usual), rebound in marbled boards preserving upper wrapper, binding worn, spine detached

The Haunting of Hill House
Shirley Jackson. New York: Viking Press, 1959.

First edition / First printing, Octavo, Hardcover. A fine copy in a fine dust jacket.

Considered one of the finest literary ghost stories ever published. Basis for two film adapations titled “The Haunting” - the 1963 Robert Wise film starring Julie Harris and Claire Bloom, and the 1999 film starring Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen WIlson, Bruce Dern and Lili Taylor.

The Empty House
Algernon Blackwood. London, Eveliegh Nash Publ., 1906.

First Edition. In “Starlight Man” Ashley maintained that the first printing was 750 copies that sold out quickly and the book was actually released for the 1906-07 holiday gifting season. All noted later impressions/printings are clearly dated and/or marked as such and none have reprised the original decorative binding of the first printing.

Carnacki the Ghost Finder
William Hope Hodgson. London: Eveleigh Nash. 1913

First edition. Spine of book a little darkened, top corners of spine show wear, binding and book’s edges dust soiled, old unused book plate on front free-endpaper, a few page corners creased, a few small stains and some light foxing on pages otherwise very good.

B-A Note: If you are interested, MJ Starling has recorded several, if not all, of the Carnacki stories. I enjoy them - definitely worth a listen. (As with all Tumblrs, it begins at the end - the first recording is at the bottom of page 3. Also available free on ITunes.) He’s currently broadcasing WHH’s “The Hog”, which I have not yet begun listening to, but probably will soon.

Dead Names. The Dark History of the Necronomicon (Signed Lettered Edition)
Simon. Burton, MI: Subterranean Press, 2006.

First limited edition, Hardcover in traycase. A fine copy.

Special, signed edition limited to 350 numbered and 13 lettered copies, this being LETTER J. SIGNED and inscribed on a special limitation page: “Mind the gate! Simon.” An in-depth look at “The Necronomicon” and its effect on popular culture. Bound in full leather and housed in a fine, handcrafted leather traycase. As new.

Tales of Mystery and Imagination
Edgar Allan Poe. New York, Brentano’s, 1923. Illustration by Harry Clarke.

A stunning edition of Poe’s masterwork with gorgeous illustrations by Harry Clarke. Clarke’s reputation as a master illustrator results largely from his work in this volume, which has been widely reproduced in innumerable editions of mostly inferior print quality.

412, [1] pp. With 32 tipped-in color plates by Harry Clarke; plus many black and white illustrations. (4to) 26.5x20 cm. (10½x7¾"), original black cloth, pictorial cover label, gilt spine, top edge black, dust jacket. First American Clarke Edition.

Dark Carnival
Bradbury, Ray (b. 1920),. Sauk City, Wisconsin: Arkham House, 1947

First edition with first issue dust jacket over gilt-lettered black boards, 8vo, (very minor edge chipping and spotting to jacket and very light fading, else fine).

B-A Note: I posted recently about a limited-edition release of this book, but this is the first-issue dust jacket and the artwork is great.

Genius Loci and Other Tales
Clark Ashton Smith. Sauk City: Arkham House, 1948.

First edition / First printing, Octavo, Hardcover. A near fine copy in a near fine dust jacket.

Jacket art by Frank Wakefield. Jaffery, Horrors and Unpleasantries #35. Black cloth marked, spine stamping dull. Front panel of jacket bright and clean, spine a bit dull with very minor wear at top and bottom. A very nice copy.

The Shunned House
H.P. Lovecraft. Athol, Massachusetts: W. Paul Cook - The Recluse Press, 1928.

First edition / First printing, Unbound sheets housed in a specially made oatmeal cloth clamshell case.

First edition printing of Lovecraft’s first book. This is one of approximately 50 sets of unbound sheets, from a total print run of approximately 300 sets of sheets. The convoluted publishing history of this most famous Lovecraft work is described in detail by Roy A. Squires in Jaffery’s “Horrors and Unpleasantries,” #62. By 1961, Arkham House had acquired 150 sets and bound 100 of them, leaving 50 unbound sets available for sale as sheets only. This is one of those sets and contains the Arkham House copyright paste-over label, with book titles printed in bold, as described by Squires.

B-A Note: This is by far the highest price - $14,000! - that I’ve seen on any Lovecraft book. Given the description and the “convoluted publishing history” I guess I can understand why. All in all, though, a lovely presentation.

Side note - I am extremely interested in reading “Horrors and Unpleasantries” now, and can only daydream about having a month free to peruse the Jaffery Collection at BGSU with fellow horror aesthetes ghoulnextdoor and ontheborderland. Maybe someday.