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Rare Alcohol Novel – 1907

May 7th, 2008  |  Published in Uncategorized

Dscn5536
Caine, Hall. Drink: A Love Story On A Great Question.

New York: D. Appleton, 1907. First edition (?). 91 pages.

Good in irregularly faded wrappers and a chipped spine. Discard stamp on title page. No other library markings. Fragile condition. A rare novel about alcoholism. OCLC records fewer than 10 copies of this edition. COPAC records one copy of a 1907 London edition and two entries for a 1908 London edition, each with one holding.

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This moralistic tale of the evils of drink is followed by a report on the depravity of "underground London," "sinful New York" (with a subsection on white women in Chinatown), a temperance lecture by Rev. T. DeWitt Talmidge, and a list of Keeley Institutes. Keeley Institutes were a predecessor to the AA movement and sought to treat alcoholics with the Keeley Cure, injections of a substance of unknown composition.

Caine was one of the best-selling authors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was also Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s secretary for a time. The Library of Congress records a microfilm copy of an 1895 edition (a date given on the copyright page of this copy, along with the 1907 date), but no physical copies are recorded. A 1901 biography of Caine (Hall Caine by Charles Kenyon) states, "Mr. Caine has the intention of dealing with the drink question in a novel…yet he has been unable to see his way to treat it in a work of fiction." It’s possible that the 1895 copyright refers to the section on New York vice, which was prepared for a newspaper.

We believe this to be the first edition of the book or the first American edition, assuming the lone 1907 COPAC record for a London edition is correct.

$125

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