Item #1480 The Gothic Quest; A History of the Gothic Novel. Montague Summers.
The Gothic Quest; A History of the Gothic Novel
The Gothic Quest; A History of the Gothic Novel
The Gothic Quest; A History of the Gothic Novel
The Gothic Quest; A History of the Gothic Novel
The Gothic Quest; A History of the Gothic Novel
The Gothic Quest; A History of the Gothic Novel
The Gothic Quest; A History of the Gothic Novel
The Gothic Quest; A History of the Gothic Novel
The Gothic Quest; A History of the Gothic Novel
The Gothic Quest; A History of the Gothic Novel
The Gothic Quest; A History of the Gothic Novel
The Gothic Quest; A History of the Gothic Novel

The Gothic Quest; A History of the Gothic Novel

London: The Fortune Press, 1939. Limited edition. Thick octavo (9 inches tall), original red cloth, gilt spine, uncut, original dust wrapper printed in red. Modest spine toning and creasing to bright, unclipped original wrapper. A near-fine copy. Item #1480

"TELL ME STRANGE THINGS"

Limited edition of this immense study of the Gothic Novel by Montague Summers—-the self-styled Roman Catholic priest and scholar of the Occult. One of only 950 copies printed by the Fortune Press and illustrated "from the Author's Collection" with a frontispiece portrait of Matthew Gregory Lewis and 15 additional plates. An excellent copy, complete with the original dust wrapper, which is printed in red on thin, tissue-like, yellow paper. A scarce complete copy of an ambitious literary curiosity by a noted eccentric.

The French Revolution unleashed a flood tide of religious refugees and by 1794 a vast number of bishops, priests, monks and nuns had found refuge in England. In 1796, Matthew Lewis published The Monk, "a mixture of the supernatural, the horrible, and the indecent" (Peter Anson). The "Gothick" novel came into fashion as, "for the first time since the sixteenth century it dawned on English people that monks and nuns were human beings, not merely 'reliques' of a remote past" (Peter Anson).

Montague Summers was "arguably the most seminal twentieth century purveyor of pop culture occultism: as an anthologist of supernatural fiction, author of short stories, and writer of popular books on the history of witchcraft, he undeniably played a pivotal role in laying the foundations for the British popular image of the occult. His favourite greeting when meeting with friends, asked in his characteristically high pitch and lisped voice: 'Tell me strange things'" (Bernard Doherty). Summers was training for Holy Orders in the Church of England but it appears that his Anglican clerical career came to a premature end following "his arraignment on a charge of pederasty alongside another clergyman. While Summers was apparently acquitted—all records appear to have been destroyed during the Blitz—it quickly ended his clerical career in the Church of England and in 1909 he entered the Roman Catholic Church. The bookend to Summers’ recorded clerical career—both Anglican and Roman Catholic—came on 28 December 1910, when he received the clerical tonsure from the then Bishop of Southwark Peter Amigo" (Bernard Doherty).

Restyling himself as Father Alphonsus Joseph-Mary Augustus Montague Summers, he threw himself into translation and editing projects, which continued throughout the 1920's and 30's, preparing "a series of ornate folio editions of what he considered the most historically important texts in the history of witchcraft for publishers like John Rodker and R.A. Caton’s Fortune Press, a publisher better known at the time for the publication of homoerotic poetry and pornography." Summers introduced an entire generation of lay readers to "the phantasmagoric world of medieval inquisitors and witch hunters, complete with its incubi, succubae, ghosts, werewolves and vampires" (Bernard Doherty). Summers had a particular focus: "I have elected to deal mainly with those aspects of Gothic romance which find their fullest expression in the work of Matthew Gregory Lewis." Gothic "Romanticism is, in effect, a Supernaturalism, and the highest form of Romanticism, in its purest and best endeavor, raised upwards to the sublime is Mysticism." The Gothic Quest consists of an Introduction. I. The Romantic Feeling, II. The Publishers and the Circulating Libraries, III. Influences from Abroad, IV. Historical Gothic, V. Matthew Gregory Lewis, VI. Francis Lathom; T.J. Horsley Curties; William Henry Ireland; and Others. Surrealism and the Gothic Novel. The text is supplemented with a General Index and an Index of Novels. Bernard Doherty. From Decadent Diabolist to Roman Catholic Demonologist: Some Biographical Curiosities from Montague Summers’ Black Folio; Peter Anson. Building Up the Waste Places: The Revival of Monastic Life in the Post-Reformation Church of England.

Price: $500.00

See all items in Convert, History, Literature , Mystic
See all items by