Victor Gollancz Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1963-1971
Size: 7.5″ x 5″
Gollancz issued two related series in the late 1940s and the early 1960s, with some overlapping titles, reprinting “strange” and “imaginative” fiction (one of Gollancz specialties). All the titles are considered part of the pre-history of science or speculative fiction. The Connoisseur’s Library of Strange Fiction announced 5 and published 4 titles (apparently, with no reprints) published in 1946-1947:
Connoisseur’s Library of Strange Fiction (1946-1947) Source
1. A Voyage to Arcturus, by David Lindsay. Published August 1946 at 8s 6d,
2. The Haunted Woman, by David Lindsay. Published in January 1947 at 7s 6d.
3. Medusa, by E.H. Visiak. Published January 1947 at 7s 6d.
4. The Confessions of a Justified Sinner, by James Hogg. Not published. Cresset Press published an edition in September 1947 which may have discouraged Gollancz from publishing his edition.
5. The Place of the Lion, by Charles Williams. Published in February 1947 at 7s 6d.
A few of these titles (#1, #2, #3) comprised #2, #7 and #3 in what is, more or less, a revised and expanded series with a modified name, Rare Works of Imaginative Fiction, with 9 titles published in 1963-1964:
Rare Works of Imaginative Fiction (1963-1964, with reprints to 1971) Source
1. The Purple Cloud, by M.P. Shiel. Published 13 June 1963 at 18s.
2. A Voyage to Arcturus, by David Lindsay. Published 13 June 1963 at 18s.
3. Medusa, by E.H. Visiak. Published 13 June 1963 at 18s.
4. Wylder’s Hand, by J.S. Lefanu. Published 24 October 1963, presumably at 21s.
5. The Greater Trumps, by Charles Williams. Claimed as not published by (Source) but 1963 copies are listed on WorldCat and AbeBooks.com
6. The Lord of the Sea, by M.P. Shiel. Published 24 October 1963, at 21s.
7. The Haunted Woman, by David Lindsay. Published 16 April 1964 at 21s.
8. The Isle of Lies, by M. P. Shiel. Published 16 April 1964 at 21s.
9. The Ghost Ship & Other Stories, by Richard Middleton. Published 16 April 1964 at 21s.
Matthew Phipps Shiell, born in Montserrat in 1865, published under the pen name M.P. Shiel. A loosely connected trilogy of novels including The Purple Cloud (1901), The Last Miracle (1906) and The Lord of the Sea (1901) are among early “last man on earth” or “future history” novels. The Lord of the Sea is inspired by Henry George’s critique of the private ownership of land. The Lord of the Sea was one of three Shiel titles in the Rare Works of Imaginative Fiction series.
Series dust jackets follow Gollancz’s distinctive yellow jacket design used on hundreds of Gollancz titles. The jacket design is common to the series. Jacket spines include the title, author, and publisher. The series name, in red ink, is at the top of the front of the jacket. The series number, title, and author follow. The publisher’s name is at the bottom. The front jacket flap describes the “eagerly sought after” but “practically unobtainable” titles included in the series. Series #4 (Wylder’s Hand) and #6 (this title) are described.
The rear of the jacket is blank, but for the number “X25.”
Bindings are pale blue cloth with gold typography (title, author, publisher) on the spine.
The half-title page:
Facing the title page is a list of series titles up through this title, #6. The date of publication (1963) is below the publisher’s imprint on the title page.
“First published in 1901, Re-issued in 1963.”
Printed in Great Britain by Lowe and Brydone (Printers) Limited, London N.W. 10″