London: Folio Press, 1967-68. Seven volumes, measuring 9.75 x 6 inches. Original black buckram stamped in blind and gilt, spines lettered in gilt, black endpapers, top edges stained black. Without original glassine and prospectus, spines lightly sunned. Housed in a custom black cloth slipcase.
Fine press reissue of the seven “horrid” eighteenth-century novels recommended by Isabella Thorpe to Catherine Morland in Jane Austen’s comic novel Northanger Abbey. Isabella promises Catherine that “when you have finished Udolpho, we will read The Italian together; and I have made out a list of ten or twelve more of the same kind for you.” Catherine replies: “are they all horrid, are you sure they are all horrid?” Throughout Northanger Abbey, Austen considers how Catherine’s appetite for Gothic romance shapes her understanding of her own life, for good and ill. Austen was long believed to have invented the titles of the novels in Isabella’s list, but by the late 1920s, all seven had been identified as real publications. Long out of print, the titles collected here are The Castle of Wolfenbach by Eliza Parsons (1793); The Necromancer, or the Tale of the Black Forest by Lawrence Flammenberg (pseudonym of Karl Friedrich Kahlert, 1794); The Mysterious Warning by Eliza Parsons (1796); The Midnight Bell by Francis Lathom (1798); Clermont by Regina Maria Roche (1798); The Orphan of the Rhine by Eleanor Sleath (1798); and Horrid Mysteries by Carl Grosse (1796). Each novel includes a biographical and critical introduction by editor Devendra Varma. A bright near-fine set.