Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1875. First Edition. 12mo; 386pp. Bound: original purple cloth, spine sunned, covers a bit soiled, tips rubbed, still a very good+ copy as only 1,628 copies were printed of this title and of these only 1301 were bound thus. This is Woolson's first book of adult fiction, preceded only by a novel for children published in 1873.
Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-1894), novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and poet, was born in Claremont, N, H. Shortly thereafter her family moved to Cleveland Ohio, and summered on Mackinac Island at the head of Lake Michigan. When her father died in 1869, Woolson traveled along the south-eastern seaboard with her mother. In 1870 she began her professinal career with local color stories published in the leading magazines of the day such as Harper's and Putnam's. According to NAW, the best of these were published in this book, CASTLE NOWHERE: LAKE COUNTRY SKETCHES. After her mother died in 1879, she left America for Europe with her sister and never returned. She met the writer Henry James in Florence in 1880 and began a lifelong friendship and serious intellectual relationship with him. "Although there is scant evidence to support a love interest on either side, scholars have cited Woolson as the source for May Bartram in James's "The Beast in the Jungle," the famous story of a man who realizes only after May's death that she has loved him." - WOMEN'S WRITING IN THE UNITED STATES. Suffering from depression and worried about her finances, Woolson either fell or jumped from the window of her Venice apartment. NAW III, pp. 670-672. Wright II 2797. BAL 23448. Grolier Club, EMERGING VOICES, pp. 66-67. Item #9853