Item #29174 Can Such Things Be ? [Malcolm M. Ferguson's copy]. Ambrose Bierce.
Can Such Things Be ? [Malcolm M. Ferguson's copy]
Can Such Things Be ? [Malcolm M. Ferguson's copy]
Can Such Things Be ? [Malcolm M. Ferguson's copy]
Can Such Things Be ? [Malcolm M. Ferguson's copy]

Can Such Things Be ? [Malcolm M. Ferguson's copy]

Washington: The Neale Publishing Company 1903. iv, 320 pages. 8vo. Publisher's brick cloth with gilt stamped titles and white stamped border and large '?' on front panel. Spine titling, etc faded. Top edges soiled. Page edges untrimmed as published. Previous owner Malcolm M. Ferguson's copy with his Ex-libris on front pastedown and signature on front flyleaf. A few penciled notes on the CONTENTS page ("ML" marked next to some stories). Several leaves with tears at the fore-edge extending just to the text (no loss) wiht several others with old cellotape repairs (yellowing). Binding starting to loosen with cracking in the gutters. Good. Cloth. [29174]


The first edition of this work was published by Cassell in 1893. This edition (the first by Neale Publishing who also later published a collection of Bierce's works) has been revised: "Of some of the tales in this new and authorized edition the author wishes to explain that their appearance in other forms since the original edition of 1893 has been without his knowledge or assent." (Preface)

"In his essay "Supernatural Horror in Literature", H. P. Lovecraft characterized Bierce's fictional work as "grim and savage." Lovecraft goes on to say that nearly all of Bierce's stories are of the horror genre and some shine as great examples of weird fiction." (Wikipedia)

The previous owner, Malcolm M. Ferguson was a writer and Lovecraft fan. A few excerpts from G. W. Thomas's cite Darkworlds quarterly article about Ferguson follow. "Malcolm M. Ferguson wrote five stories for Weird Tales. The name is not a household word, even among WT fans. He was no Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber or Ted Sturgeon. He didn’t leave the pages of WT to go onto write bigger and better things. Once a year, for five years, he’d pen a tale. ... I was glad to find out in this case, Malcolm Ferguson was not forgotten. I dug deeper and found he had published a letter to Famous Fantastic Mysteries (August 1943), and his only other piece of fiction was “A Damsel with a Dulcimer” in the Arkham Sampler 1948. And here is where things get really interesting. MMF wrote many pieces for Derleth and was a friend. In “L’Abril” Ferguson describes a visit with M. P. Shiel in England during WWII. On Derleth’s recommendations, Ferguson was trying to find English correspondents during his furloughs from the army.

A picture of MMF solidifies: friend of Derleth, a veteran, it turns out he also graduated from Harvard and ran an antiquarian bookshop for some years, all the while writing fan stuff for Derleth like “Arkham House and Its English Visitants” or “Literature With a Capital Hell”. Malcolm M. Ferguson was a fan, a supporter and part of weird fiction history. Ferguson died in 2011. His obituary mentions his many accomplishments including his writing."

Ferguson was also a correspondent with M.P. Shiel: "Ferguson on Shiel collects various documents - articles and correspondence - that pertain to the writer M. P. Sheil (1865-1947) as written by (or to) the American bookseller and librarian Malcolm M. Ferguson (b. 1919) who met the elderly Shiel in 1944 when stationed in England as an American serviceman." (Anderson, Douglas A. and Berube, Pierre H. (2010) "Letters," Mythlore: A Journal of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature: Vol. 29: No. 1, Article 11).

Price: $375.00

See all items in Science Fiction & Fantasy
See all items by