Power of Sympathy: or, The Triumph of Nature.
[BROWN, William Hill]. The Power of Sympathy: or, The Triumph of Nature. Contemporary sheep, raised spine bands, gilt-ruled spines, red morocco spine labels, housed in custom navy blue morocco-backed slipcase with inner cloth chemises. Boston: Isaiah Thomas, 1789. 2 Vols. 12mo. Rare. Evans 21979 (as by Morton). BAL 1518, State A of Vol. Two. Wright I: 433. Sabin 64784. ESTC: W27779. First edition of what is considered to be the first American novel. Engraved frontis. by Samuel Hill. With the bookplate of noted collector A. Edward Newton. Ostensibly a warning to women on the dangers of "seduction" and the importance of rationality over emotion, it is a tale of kidnapping, accidental incest, and suicide. Published anonymously, authorship was long attributed to the American poet Sarah Wentworth Apthorp Morton because the plot is based on incidents in the life of her family, particularly that of her sister, Frances Apthorp. The novel, however, was written by Morton's neighbor, William Hill Brown who wrote a scandalous tale of seduction, betrayal, kidnapping, and suicide, loosely based on the tragedies in the Apthorp household. A distinctly American adaptation of the European epistolary romance, with rich descriptions of the Rhode Island landscape and reflection on slavery in America. Contemporary ownership signature partially erased from both title pages. Rarely seen at all, and generally found as two volumes bound in one. This copy is in two volumes in a contemporary binding. Bindings a bit rubbed, some cracks at hinges, rear free endpaper of Vol. One partially torn, occasional closed tears approaching text, a bit of light scattered foxing, else fine.