Mary Schweidler, THE AMBER WITCH. THE MOST INTERESTING TRIAL FOR WITCHCRAFT EVEN KNOWN. PRINTED FROM AN IMPERFECT MANUSCRIPT BY HER FATHER ABRAHAM SCWEIDLER, THE PASTOR OF COSEROW, IN THE ISLAND OF USEDOM
Book Details + Condition: John Wiley (New York). Scarce early edition from 1848. Original embossed cloth boards. 180 pages. By Wilhelm Meinhold, and translated from the German by Lady Duff Gordon. "The Amber Witch" is a German novel published by Wilhelm Meinhold (1797–1851) in 1838. The novel was originally published as a literary hoax which purported to be an actual 17th-century chronicle. Meinhold claimed to have discovered a manuscript written by a 17th-century minister, Abraham Schweidler (purportedly a pastor of Coserow and known for his fire and brimstone sermons) amongst rubbish in the choir of the old Coserow church. The manuscript contained the story of the pastor's daughter Maria, the "Amber Witch". The tale was described by Meinhold, in the subtitle of the novel, as "the most interesting trial for witchcraft ever known". The translated work by Lady Duff Gordon was very popular with the Victorians and went through numerous editions, including a luxury one in 1895 illustrated by Philip Burne-Jones. The novel was a favorite of Oscar Wilde's when he was a boy. In 1861 it was made into an opera, composed by William Vincent Wallace. A worn but firm copy, with wear to embossed boards; darkening to areas of spine and boards; interior is clean and free of markings save owner's name on endpaper (from 1851); foxing present throughout; old water stain to last ~25 pages.