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THE GADFLY by  E. L. (Ethel Lilian. 1864-1960) Voynich - First Edition - 1897. - from Bookfever.com, IOBA and Biblio.com

THE GADFLY

by Voynich, E. L. (Ethel Lilian. 1864-1960)

Condition: Good overall in brown cloth with gilt lettering and small decoration on front cover - usual toning to the pages, corners bumped,


New York:: Henry Holt,, 1897.. Good overall in brown cloth with gilt lettering and small decoration on front cover - usual toning to the pages, corners bumped, other wear to covers, but a tight and sturdy copy. . First American edition, later issue. Set in the 1830s and 1840s when Austria dominated Italy, this is a novel about a young Catholic English student, who becomes a member of the Youth Movement, and an international revolutionary in Italy during the 1840s and Austrian dominance of that country. The story centers on Arthur ("the Gadfly") and his nemesis Padre Montanelli. Yoynich was an an Irish novelist and musician, and a supporter of several revolutionary causes, and a significant figure in Russian emigre circles. This was her best known novel, which became hugely popular in her lifetime, especially in Russia, where it sold over 2 million copies, and in China with similar sales. The character of the Gadfly is partially based on the early life Sidney Reilly, a Russian-born adventurer and secret agent employed by the British Secret Intelligence Service, with whom she had a brief liason in 1895. Note: although this has the date of 1897 on the title page, the publisher's ads in the rear are from 1899 so it is possible that these sheets from the first printing were bound later. 3 77 pp plus 4 pp of ads.

The Gadfly was published in 1897, and its original publishers feared a hostile public reaction to its theme of revolution. Instead, it quickly became a classic of socialism, one of the very first politically aware novels. A story of love and conspiracy, it was based in part on the early life of Sidney Rosenblum, better known as "Reilly Ace of Spies" -- Voynich's boyfriend at the time.




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