The Parasite

CONAN DOYLE, A. The Parasite.

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CONAN DOYLE, A. The Parasite. London: C. Arthur Pearson, Ltd., [1913]

8vo. Rebound quarter red morocco over red cloth; spine lettered in gilt; pp. [ix], 14-100; a few minor marks to boards; bookseller sticker to lower paste-down; contemporary ownership inscription to front fly-leaf; light foxing to endpapers and some toning to paper-stock; a good copy in the modern binding.
Published as part of the "Pearson's Sixpenny Novels" series. First published in 1894, ~i~The Parasite is a novelette in which Conan Doyle explores themes of mesmerism and mind control, which was a popualr topic during the Victorian era. The plot of the novelette centres around Victor Hatherley, who becomes entangled the mesmerist Miss Penclosa, who uses her skills to control and manupulate Hatherley. This story, closely tied to Conan Doyle's well-documented interest in spiritualism and psychic phenomena, delves into the psychological aspects of mind control and the consequences of being subject to such influences.
Established in London by Sir Cyril Arthur Pearson, C. Arthur Pearson Ltd gained renown as a publishing firm that produced the well-known periodical Pearson's Weekly. As well as acquiring a range of newspapers at the turn of the twentieth century, The Pearson Sixpenny Novels series, of which this is one, was a collection of affordable paperback novels published by the company at the turn of the twentieth century. The series was launched in the late 1890s as a way to make literature more accessible to a wider audience, particularly to the working-class readers who couldn't afford more expensive hardcover books, essentially popularising paperback fiction.
This publication includes a selection of printed advertisements that are effective in evoking a sense of the early twentieth century, with a dental office in Oxford Street advertising to purchase old artificial teeth, as well as Wood-Milne's revolutionary rubber heels, to "make walking on any road a pleasure."