THE BLACK CHANTER AND OTHER HIGHLAND STORIES
Octavo, pp. [1-4] 5 [6-8] 9-226 [227-229: ads] [230-232: blank] [note: last leaf is a blank], original pictorial blue cloth front panel stamped in brown, green, white and gold, spine panel stamped in brown and gold, t.e.g., other edges untrimmed (binding design by Decorative Designers). First edition. "Ten short stories of the Scottish highlands, from a time when Christian values were new and at odds with the pagan warrior ethos. The stories also explore conflicts between love and duty, young and old, the foreign and the local. Many of the stories consider the various reactions of old men to mortality. The writing has the tang and the lilt of its setting, and, though a little heavy at times, is stylistically well above the level of the average commercial fiction of the day. Three of the stories, among the best in the collection, are strongly supernatural. 'The Chieftain's Portrait' takes up the old primitive belief that a likeness of a man will take away his soul and his strength. That's what happens when the chief insists on having his portrait painted. The twist is that the portrait comes back to life years later at a time of crisis when the chief's strength is sorely needed. The apparition, its duty performed, returns to the canvas -- but the image has undergone a change. 'Fairy Ferlie' is about the conflict between the ways of this world and the world of Fairie. The hero marries a beautiful woman who is one of the Good People. She gives him a son, Ferlie, but the lad takes after his mother and has no interest in the warrior ethos. When his clan goes to battle with another, the pipers of the two clans are unable to get any sound from their pipes; Ferlie steps out from the enchanted wood nearby and starts up a merry tune on a strange-looking set of pipes, whereupon the warriors cross swords -- in time with the music, turning what would have been a battle into a dance instead. Ferlie's pipes hang on the wall now, un-playable by mortal -- but ready to perform their magical service for the Good People if needed again. 'The Wise Woman' is a story of witchcraft, with another potent twist at the end. An old witch is called to the moorland hut of a sick old man who craves an extension of his life until he can see his son, who is returning to visit him after a long absence. The witch reluctantly agrees and performs her ceremony, extracting the disease from the old man, who falls into a deep restful sleep. The witch must then find a living host for the disease or else it will consume her. A stranger knocks at the door, craving shelter from the rain; the witch invites him in, touching him as she makes him comfortable, and thus transferring the disease to him. In the morning the old man wakes up and finds the stranger dead at the fireplace. It's his long-lost son. Strong material that's well worth a look, both for the substance of the stories and their stylistic polish." - Robert Eldridge. Smith, American Fiction, 1901-1925 C-401. Private library stamps on both paste-downs. Cloth lightly rubbed at spine ends and corner tips, a bright, very good copy. (#147391). N° de réf. du libraire 147391
Titre : THE BLACK CHANTER AND OTHER HIGHLAND STORIES
Éditeur : The Macmillan Company. London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., New York
Date d'édition : 1903
Reliure : Hardcover
Edition : 1st Edition
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