Publisher: [Chicago: n.p., n.d., 1894].
Edition: First edition.
Bibliographical References: OCLC 20150325, 20150203 & 12380909 record three copies: OSU, Chicago and Stanford.
Condition: Paper browned; wrappers a little worn; very good copy.
Book ID: 27458
Description8vo, original pictorial wrappers, 334 pages.
CommentsOne of about twelve recorded works of fiction by Chicago author William Wilson Knott, all classic examples of the pulp fiction genre that flourished during the 1890s. Little is known about Knott, other than that he resided in Chicago between about 1890 and 1910 and issued most of his works under the general title "Bow-Knot Series" published by the Bow-Knot Publishing Company. His Fatal Wager is preceded by a long preface in which Knott tells the story of how he moved to Chicago in 1891 and self-published his first novel under the imprint of the Bow-Knot Publishing Company. That first book, Stolen Sweets (1891), was a success, but his advertising mailers caught the attention of postal regulators, who brought charges against him for sending obscene literature through the mails. He was convicted and sentenced to 13 months in Joliet State Prison. It was there that Knott “discovered” the manuscript of His Fatal Wager, which he maintains was the work of a former inmate named Adrian Vaughn – perhaps a ruse to avoid being identified as the author. This copy is a duplicate from the Ohio State University Pratt Circulating Library collection. The duplicates were consigned to Serendipity Books in the late 1990s.