Blog,  From My Bookshelf

From My Bookshelf: Ethan, Edgar, Moon

Two weeks ago I shared a book haul from a recent bookstore and antique mall trip (see it here), and thought I would share three novels from that haul that were primarily edition/cover buys (in this month’s edition of From My Bookshelf).

Ethan Frome 
Edith Wharton

  • Signet Classic, 1986
    • Introduction by Cynthia Griffin Wolff
    • Cover painting: Grandma Moses Properties Co.

This is not the first time Ethan Frome has appeared in a From My Bookshelf post; I didn’t necessarily need another edition but my love for Signet Classics got the best of me [yet again].

From the introduction: The early fictions deal with this problem [high class women coming into womanhood with the expectation of being desired ‘objects’ rather than participating in work or using their intelligence] primarily in social terms—excoriating the society that made so little provision for a woman’s need to exercise her intelligence and experience her passions. Ethan Frome is a dramatic departure from these in several ways, most notable in that it does not deal with a series of mutilating social prohibitions. Instead, it addresses the lethal inclination to passivity that dwells deeply buried in every human heart. What is more, it deals with this problem from an artist’s point of view, for the principal ‘character’ in Ethan Frome is not the man who gives the novel its title, but the storyteller who recounts his tale to us.


The end of the introduction—written by Cynthia Griffin Wolff—connects Ethan Frome to Edith Wharton’s Summer, which is a sort of thematic sequel (one I highly recommend):

Ethan Frome is, perhaps, a novel that asserts Wharton’s ultimate command over those elements of her own early life that had so deeply troubled her. In its companion novel, Summer, she goes on to suggest some of the richly rewarding alternatives.

Ten Great Mysteries by Edgar Allan Poe
Edited with an Introduction by Groff Conklin

  • TAB Books, Inc./Scholastic Book Services, 1960
    • Edited with an introduction by Groff Conklin
    • Sketch illustrations and cover by Irv Docktor

I love a good collection/anthology just as much as I love book covers with illustrations like this. If you click on Irv Docktor’s name above, make sure you have at least an hour to admire his work (the text! the images!) – it’s easy to get lost in his art.

From the back cover: The Pit and the Pendulum…The Purloined Letter…The Tell-Tale Heart…A Descent into the Maelstrom…and six other choice chillers by the acknowledged master of mystery, fantasy, and horror.
These ten absorbing stories, selected by a famed anthologist of science-fiction and the supernatural, prove that even after a century Poe’s imagination still works its macabre magic. 


“The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, “The Purloined Letter”, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”, “The Pit and the Pendulum”, “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains”, “A Descent into the Maelstrom”, “The Black Cat”, “‘Though Art the Man'”, “Metzengerstein” make up this collection – I’ve only ever read “The Tell-Tale Heart”.

The First Men in the Moon
H.G. Wells

My initiation into the Dell Mapback collector’s club came last year, after receiving The Clue of the Judas Tree in a mystery book box – so I was thrilled to find this gem. Thank you to whomever brought it to the antique mall to find a new home!

This is not to say I’m not excited about the actual book/story. I haven’t read anything by H.G. Wells, but am aware of his literary significance. Will I keep this edition if I end up not enjoying a read through? Yes – Dell Mapbacks are worth the aesthetic value to me.

From the Summary: This tale, with its flights of imagination, its wild adventures in the mooncalf pastures and in the tremendous lunar caverns, its human drama, ranks high among the “science-fiction” classics of all time; it is one of a group of scientific fantasies which H. G. Wells wrote in his younger years.

Are you familiar with any of these books, authors, or editions? What was the last book(s) you bought mainly for its cover/appearance? Let’s chat in the comments.

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