CORELLI, Marie. Soul of Lilith. London, Bentley, 1892.
8vo. Original blue pebble-grained cloth, title gilt to upper cover and spine, endpapers patterned with RBS monogram; pp. vi, 28; pp.iv, 277; pp.iv, 243, 30 (ads), [2,ads]; bookplates of Margaret Macaulay to front paste-down endpapers, last free endpaper to vol 1 sometime skilfully replaced, a little offsetting to the endpapers in general but otherwise internally clean, covers bright, all three volumes with a lean, a very good set of a scarce title.
First edition. In this novel, the doomed occultist El Rami comes across the body of a dead girl and attempts to use his arts to bring her back to life. He succeeds, but her body is a shell. He spends the rest of the novel working on summoning her soul back into the corpse, but the culmination of the novel (in which El Rami forces his affections on the unwilling body) cause it to crumble to ash, and the sorcerer is reduced to a gibbering wreck for his hubris.
Marie Corelli was the most popular fiction author of her day, outselling H. G. Wells, and Arthur Conan Doyle (to name two examples) by the thousands. She was Queen Victoria’s favourite author and her works were collected by King Edward VII, the future King George V and by Winston and Randolph Churchill, amongst others. Her works continually revisit an attempt to reconcile Christianity with occultism and mysticism, such as reincarnation or astral projection.