Thursday, October 17, 2013

From the Rare Dust Jacket Files: Hucca's Moor by Manning-Sanders

Here's a super-duper rarity that I'm thrilled to be able to post for posterity. It's the dust jacket for Hucca's Moor, a 1929 novel by Ruth Manning-Sanders. The novel was published by Faber & Gwyer of London.

I came across the image because someone has listed the book, with this original dust jacket intact, for sale on eBay. Who knows how many copies were originally printed, or how many of the original dust jackets remain in existence 84 years later?

It's a morbid and fascinating illustration, isn't it? I've never read the novel, and, at first, this was the only description I found of its plot: "The story tells of a man's unsuccessful attempt to lose his own soul."

Then, with a bit more digging, I came across what I think is a capsule review of Hucca's Moor that appeared in the April 6, 1929, edition of The Spectator:

"The tragedy of Zephan Wall, a half-idiot pedlar, is that his ludicrous ambitions only accentuate his poverty of mind and body. His patient wife, Deborah, is housekeeper to a gigantic bed-ridden miner, by name Bendigo Scoffern; and his step-daughter, Mabel Best, is an imbecile of twenty-six, who plays with toys and has screaming fits. She is convicted of the murder, of which she was innocent, and removed to an asylum. The book concludes with descriptions of her mother's misery, and Zephan's brain-storms and suicide. It is, in its dreary way, very well done, though whether it were worth doing at all is a question for each reader to decide. The atmosphere of horror is sustained throughout, and there is not one pleasant moment in the story. Those who hike to wallow in misery may find some justification for the book..."

Not a ringing endorsement, eh?

Meanwhile, the other interesting thing about this specific dust jacket is that it contains a bookseller's label for Bridger's Bookshop on Market Jew Street in Penzance, Cornwall, England.

I don't believe that bookstore still exists, but there is now a store called The Edge Of The World Bookshop on Market Jew Street in Penzance. It would be neat to visit it some day.

Other Manning-Sanders
covers and dust jackets

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