The Book of Were-wolves: Being An Account of a Terrible Superstition.
London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1865. First Edition. Hardcover. Neat, professional repair to the inner joints and hinges by Sean Richards. Beginning in Chapter IX, "Natural Causes of Lycanthropy," an early owner has affixed old press clippings about child murders to approx. eight pages of text (in such a way that the printed text is still legible) and added some relevant notes in neat ink and pencil. The striking binding is much brighter and cleaner than typically found. Overall, a very handsome copy. The first major study of the myths and legends regarding werewolves and lycanthropy from ancient times to the Victorian era. Baring-Gould's status as an Anglican Priest and his widely varied skills, experiences, and academic interests allowed him to create one of the definitive texts on lycanthropy, reviewing mythology, history, medical and sociological influences, and literature pertaining to werewolves and related phenomena. Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924) of Lew Trenchard in Devon, England, was an Anglican priest, hagiographer, antiquarian, novelist, folk song collector and eclectic scholar. His bibliography consists of more than 1240 publications. In one of the most cited texts on lycanthropy, "Baring-Gould treats the phenomenon of the werewolf as a psychological aberration, as essentially a delusional state. Baring-Gould treks into the shadowy world of crimes vaguely connected to werewolves, including serial murders, grave desecration, and cannibalism." (Coleman) At first search, no copies of this edition held in US institutions (Worldcat). A scarce book generally and arguably rare in as handsome condition as found here. Fine. Light shelf/edge wear, discrete marginal notations, several clippings carefully tipped in (with some minor related offsetting), minor dust staining to top of text block, professional repair to hinges/joints, else tight, bright, and unmarred. Original publisher's pebbled red cloth boards, gilt lettering and decorative elements, frontispiece. 8vo. xi, 266pp, plus 2pp adverts. Illus. (b/w plates). Item #10978