George Barnwell, or the Merchant's Clerk. George Lillo, Thomas Skinner Surr.
George Barnwell, or the Merchant's Clerk.
George Barnwell, or the Merchant's Clerk.
"Barnwell snatched up the dagger, sprung upon the breast of the venerable old man, and plunged its fatal point deep in his heart! One groan only preceded his dissolution!

George Barnwell, or the Merchant's Clerk.

Philadelphia: John B. Perry, 1845. Item #633

12mo.  145 x 95 mm., [5 3/4 x 3 1/4 inches].  131 pp.  Illustrated with five full-page woodcuts.  Brown publisher's cloth, decorated with embossed border design on both boards.  Cloth faded in parts, head and tail of spine a bit chipped; some light tide marks to text, otherwise sound copy.

First third(?) edition, originally published in Dublin in 1798.  This novel is based on the play of George Lillo entitled, The London Merchant, published in London in 1731.  Thomas Skinner Surr turned the drama into a novel, which was published in Dublin and London, and then in Philadelphia, and Boston in the 19th century.  It tells the story of a young clerk, who after a number of tragedies befell his life, became involved with a prostitute and ended up stealing money from his employer and  killing his Uncle to finance his affair.

Lillo's tragedy became so famous that it sparked an explosion of stories of this type and numerous editions were published in England and American.  The theme of these stories was the corruption of the city and they cautioned young men  leaving the farm to find work, to stay clear of drink, debauchery, gambling and prostitutes.  

This title is not cited in Wright, American Fiction, Hamilton, Early American Book Illustrators, or Shaw & Shoemaker.  OCLC cites one copy at the Lilly Library, and NUC adds copies at New York Public Library, Boston Public Library, and Texas Christian University.

Price: $175.00

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