Memoirs of Don Juan van Halen; comprising the narrative of his imprisonment in the dungeons of the Inquisition at Madrid, and of his escape, his journey to Russia, his campaign with the army of the Caucasus, etc. etc. Edited, from the original Spanish manuscript, by the author of ‘Don Esteban’ and ‘Sandoval’. Second edition, with alterations and additions.

London, Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1830.

Two volumes, pp. x, 330; [ii], 366; with a frontispiece-portrait of Van Halen in vol. I and two folding panoramas (Tiflis, the installations of the new Khan of Kasikimut); contemporary green roan, edges gilt; slightly rubbed; from the library of Ian Robertson (1928–2020).

£200

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Memoirs of Don Juan van Halen; comprising the narrative of his imprisonment in the dungeons of the Inquisition at Madrid, and of his escape, his journey to Russia, his campaign with the army of the Caucasus, etc. etc. Edited, from the original Spanish manuscript, by the author of ‘Don Esteban’ and ‘Sandoval’. Second edition, with alterations and additions.

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Second edition; first published in 1827. It is edited by Valentín Maria Llanos Gutierrez, who knew Keats, and visited him three days before his death in February, 1821. In 1826 Llanos y Gutierrez married Fanny Keats, the poet’s sister, and in 1833 took her to Spain, where they lived for the rest of their long lives.

Although it is not a work of fiction, Van Halen’s stirring narrative can be compared to such Gothic romances of pursuit as Caleb Williams. Llanos Gutierrez, however, chooses to emphasize the narrative’s quality of reportage: ‘it offers a true picture of the times, and of the character of modern inquisitors, whose sanguinary and revengeful spirit, when we take into account the softened manners of the age, yields nothing to that which roused the barbarous and remorseless Torquemada’.

‘With respect to the present edition, it has been carefully revised and considerably condensed with the view to diminish its cost, and thus make more widely known the system of oppression and misrule, which, up to this time, is strictly adhered to by King Ferdinand and his apostolic friends – whose downfal [sic], however, we have reasons to believe, is now fast approaching’ (preface, p. v).

Provenance: presentation inscription on front fly-leaf ‘Edward Fellowes from his friend Thomas Henry Fanet on his leaving Eton. July, 1836’.

Alberich 981 and Palau 351701 record the first edition.

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