RYAN, R. R. The Subjugated Beast Herbert Jenkins, London, 1938.
8vo. Original orange cloth, titled in black to upper cover and spine; pp.312 [8. ads]; a very good copy of a scarce book, with some fading to the spine and foxing to the edges.
First edition. Prized by horror aficionados, works by the enigmatic R.R. Ryan are exceedingly hard to come by. Published in small, isolated printings without much fanfare, the books later developed a cult following due to their deeply disturbing and strangely lurid topics, and are now highly sought after by collectors of horror fiction. This book seldom appears at all, in any condition, and is a true rarity.
The Subjugated Beast is perhaps the most unsettling of Ryan's books (which is admittedly a high bar), revolving around a man who locks his wife up and feeds her raw meat as a form of experiment. Ryan's books are noted for the expert handling of rising tension, of their focus on the experiences of women over men, and their consistently haunting depictions of predatory male archetypes.
Ryan's true identity is disputed, though various researches have reached their own conclusions. Eventually, scholar James Doig finally produced evidence that the author was theatre manager and playwright Evelyn Bradley, though subsequent enquiries have suggested that he was perhaps only an auxiliary to the true author, his daughter Denice Jeanette Bradley-Ryan. Regardless, no R.R Ryan books were produced after 1950, when Evelyn Bradley took his own life.