The Undiscovered Country, W. D. Howells, 1st Ed, 1880


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The Undiscovered Country
by W. D. Howells


Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, Boston
Copyright: 1880

Undiscovered Country, The, by W. D. Howells (1880), is a favorite with many of the author's fans. The central figure, Dr. Boynton, an enthusiastic spiritualist, is an admirable study of a self-deceiver, an honest charlatan. He is a country doctor, who has become a monomaniac on the subject of spiritualistic manifestations and has brought up his daughter, a delicate, high-strung, nervous girl, as a medium. His attempts to take Boston by storm end in disaster. He is branded as a cheat, his daughter is believed to be his confederate, and he and Egeria seek refuge in a community of Shakers, whose quaint and kindly ways are portrayed with a loving pen. The peaceful monotony of the daily life, its plain plenty, its orderliness, its thrift, its constant and unoppressive industry, the moral uprightness of the broad-brimmed and straight-skirted community, the strangeness of the spiritual culture which forbids the sowing of any seeds of sentiment, the excellence of character which is so perversely one-sided and ineffective-all these conditions and effects are so vividly reported that the reader seems to behold with his bodily eyes the long barns bursting with harvests, the bare clean rooms of the houses, and the homely pleasantness of everyday activity. In this islanded tranquillity Egeria blossoms into beautiful womanhood and her supernatural powers vanish forever. A happy life opens before her; but the eyes of the poor visionary, her father, cannot turn away from the Undiscovered Country. Unbalanced trickster that he is, little Dr. Boynton is yet a lovable and pathetic figure, honestly a martyr to his cause. The story is told with an unfailing humor and sympathy, which make the Shaker settlement seem almost a place of pilgrimage.

Condition: This book is in good condition. Hardcover. Original burgundy cloth with gilt titles. Boards are worn along edges and corners. Hinges tight. Binding slightly cocked. Some fraying to head/tail of spine. Green endpapers. The text block is crisp and clean. Black ink stampon inside front cover, reads R. S. Snow.

Dimensions: 5" X 7.5"
419 pages
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