Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Pirates on the Aegean

Here’s another example of a W. W. Denslow cover for a Rand McNally novel - in fact, it’s two examples! Written by Richard Henry Savage and published in 1897, A Modern Corsair is a fairly typical adventure novel of the period.

The story centers on fraud in the insurance business; more specifically, in the shipping trade, where shipwrecked freighters could collect large payouts for lost goods. Much of the action takes place in and around Smyrna, and the story is filled with stereotypical Turks, Greeks, and other ethnic types, who are thwarted by our hero, a young American journalist posing as a British lord.

This is a case of Denslow designing two covers - one for the paperback and one for the hardcover. I came across the paperback version and blogged about it several years ago, but only recently found the hardcover. The paperback design focuses on Agathe the Serpent, a woman whose intentions are mysterious and possibly deadly. The hardcover is more sedate, focusing on a wrecked freighter in the foreground. In both cases, one of Denslow’s more elaborate seahorse signatures is featured.

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