First edition in book form of this suspenseful romance with an active, adventurous heroine, the drama turning on questions of power and property.
HER DOUBLE LIFE
HER DOUBLE LIFE is an excellent example of Jan Cohn's assertion that "romance tells over and over a story about power deeply encoded within a story about love" (3). Harriet Lewis specialized in adventure romances, full of intrigue, but with plots driven by active heroines: "The male characters deal in words, but the heroine acts and prevails; she is her own champion" (Cohn 80).
In this sensation novel (what we might categorize today as romantic suspense), a murder mystery is solved alongside the heroine coming into her own and marrying the hero. The thriller aspect revolves around a plot to obtain the inheritance of a marquis. It brings the economic focus of 18th- and early 19th-century courtship novels (often very concerned with the transactional aspect of a union) into the era of sensational adventure fiction that blossomed in the United States after the Civil War. But these adventurous romances ascribed more agency to women than we often assume today: "Passivity cannot be attributed to the Victorian heroines in the fiction of Harriet Lewis [...] those heroines assum[e] masculine ambitions and undertak[e] masculine adventures on their way to money and power, usually in direct conflict with the villain" (Cohn 167).
Many of Lewis's works were first published serially; this one first appeared in the NEW YORK LEDGER, 1869. Many of them never made it into book form, and thus succumbed to the side-effect of ephemerality: they stopped being read because they were not easily available. The publisher of this volume made a series out of Lewis's LEDGER appearances: "The issuing of this beautiful story […] in book form, inaugurates the New York Ledger Library, which will comprise a series of the choicest and most popular stories that have been published in the LEDGER during the last quarter century." It is rare in the market and institutionally.
Read more: Cohn, Romance and the Erotics of Property.
New York: Robert Bonner's Sons, (1888). 7.25'' x 5''. Original brown pictorial cloth stamped in black, gilt-lettered spine. Yellow patterned endpapers. Wood-engraved frontispiece. , 500 pages. Some light ink marks on spine, slight lean. Boards with light soiling, some shallow rubbing to extremities.
The Fine Print
We work hard to meet our ethical responsibilty to describe our material accurately. All items are guaranteed as described and may be returned for any reason within 30 days. Please notify us before mailing a return.
We guarantee the authenticity of our items. All items are original (meaning not facsimiles or reproductions), first editions (i.e. first printings), unless otherwise noted. TPM is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America and upholds their Code of Ethics.
All items subject to prior sale. Domestic orders over $250 and international orders over $500 ship gratis. We use USPS unless otherwise requested. Expedited, overnight, or international shipping, as well as other carriers, may carry additional costs beyond quoted rates. All orders receive tracking information and a direct contact in case of any questions.
We accept all major credit cards, Paypal, Venmo, check, money order, and bank wire. We are happy to accomodate institutional buyers' needs. Sales tax will be added to applicable purchases.
If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your purchase, please contact us. We prioritize our long-term relationships far above any individual purchase, and we want you to love your item as much as we loved cataloguing it.