New York, Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company Publishers, [1911]. Octavo, pp. [1-8] 1-357 [358-360: blank] [note: last leaf is a blank], one single-page and four double-page inserted plates with color illustrations by Andre Castaigne, original pictorial brown cloth, front and spine panels stamped in white and blind. First edition in English. Translation of LE FANTOME DE L'OPERA (1910). Leroux wrote over thirty popular novels of mystery and detection, including THE MYSTERY OF THE YELLOW ROOM (1908), a pioneer locked room mystery, considered the greatest masterpiece of French detective fiction. "He remains most famous, however, for ... THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA ... Although there is nothing supernatural in his text, the charged Grand-Guignol ambiance Leroux created seems to point to a non-naturalistic explanation of the story ... Leroux assured his readers that the story was based on fact. Erik, a Middle Eastern ex-torturer and half-crazed musician, lurks in the labyrinth of passages and catacombs that make the gigantic Paris Opera House a genuine edifice. He creates a series of mysterious events to further the career of Christine Daae, a beautiful young singer; and, when the Opera managers refuse to make her a star, inflicts savage revenge. Certain scenes -- the Masque which evokes Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Masque of the Red Death' (1842) and the moment when the 'phantom's' own mask is stripped off -- have become horror paradigms. The story as a whole is a central urban fantasy." - Clute and Grant (eds), The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997), p. 576. This classic novel has been filmed numerous times, most memorable with Lon Chaney in the lead role. Of late it became the basis for the long running stage production. Ashley, Who's Who in Horror and Fantasy Fiction, p. 116. Barron (ed), Horror Literature 3-128. Sullivan (ed), The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural, p. 263. Bleiler (1948), p. 179. Hubin (1994), p. 498. Small close tear to upper edge of half-title page, some very light rubbing to cloth edges, several small 'bubble spots' to cloth, a bright clean nearly fine copy with no degradation to the easily perishable enamel stamping. (14543). Item #14543

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