London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1896. Item #05008
Arthur Conan Doyle’s Boxing Novel, “Rodney Stone,”
with Eight Plates by Sidney Paget
DOYLE, A[rthur] Conan. [PAGET, Sidney, illustrator]. Rodney Stone. With Illustrations. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1896.
First English edition. Octavo (7 9/16 x 5 inches; 192 x 127 mm. ). , 366, [10, publisher’s advertisements] pp. Eight plates by Sidney Paget (including frontispiece, with tissue guard).
Publisher's black diamond-grain cloth decoratively stamped and lettered in gilt on front cover and spine. Dark brown coated endpapers. Front joint neatly repaired, otherwise a very good copy.
20,000 copies were published on 13th November 1896 priced 6/-.
“‘They say that every form of knowledge comes useful [sic] sooner or later. Certainly my own experience in boxing and my very large acquaintance with the history of the prize-ring found their scope when I wrote ‘Rodney Stone.’ No one but a fighting man would ever, I think, quite understand or appreciate some of the detail.’—Memories and Adventures (p. 273).
"The author’s knowledge and experience of boxing went back to his youth. In September 1894 he decided to use it in a ‘boxing play’ which he hoped to write in conjunction with his brother-in-law, E.W. Hornung…He also envisioned a novel…During the summer of 1895 while at Upper Engadine and Caux he began the novel, having put the play aside, and it was finished in September…The book was very successful financially…The subject of boxing in the Regency period had already been touched on in ‘The Brigadier in England’, and there are many subsequent stories. ‘An Impression of the Regency’ is the one of most interest in connection with this book. It was the preliminary sketch which the author wrote to get the feel of the period, and although not intended for publication, it was published later.
"The author believed that he was a pioneer, the first to get the ‘focus of the Regency as the subject of Romance’. He believed that his book was an important element in the surge of interest in the sport after the turn of the century and especially during the 1920, a belief supported by the number of newspapers and magazines which reprinted the story. The author placed Rodney Stone as the first volume of the Crowborough Edition, implying that he rated it, at least at the end of his life, on a par with The White Company” (Green and Gibson, pp. 97-98).
Rodney Stone was serialized in The Strand Magazine, January-December 1896, with illustrations by Sidney Paget.
Green and Gibson A20a.