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Preface To The Edition Of 1853
As a work of imagination, "Zanoni" ranks, perhaps, amongst the highest of my prose
fictions. In the Poem of "King Arthur," published many years afterwards, I have taken up
an analogous design, in the contemplation of our positive life through a spiritual medium;
and I have enforced, through a far wider development, and, I believe, with more complete
and enduring success, that harmony between the external events which are all that the
superficial behold on the surface of human affairs, and the subtle and intellectual
agencies which in reality influence the conduct of individuals, and shape out the destinies
of the world. As man has two lives,--that of action and that of thought,--so I conceive that
work to be the truest representation of humanity which faithfully delineates both, and
opens some elevating glimpse into the sublimest mysteries of our being, by establishing
the inevitable union that exists between the plain things of the day, in which our earthly
bodies perform their allotted part, and the latent, often uncultivated, often invisible,
affinities of the soul with all the powers that eternally breathe and move throughout the
Universe of Spirit.
I refer those who do me the honour to read "Zanoni" with more attention than is given to
ordinary romance, to the Poem of "King Arthur," for suggestive conjecture into most of
the regions of speculative research, affecting the higher and more important condition of
our ultimate being, which have engaged the students of immaterial philosophy in my own
Affixed to the "Note" with which this work concludes, and which treats of the
distinctions between type and allegory, the reader will find, from the pen of one of our
most eminent living writers, an ingenious attempt to explain the interior or typical
meanings of the work now before him.
It is possible that among my readers there may be a few not unacquainted with an old-
book shop, existing some years since in the neighbourhood of Covent Garden; I say a
few, for certainly there was little enough to attract the many in those precious volumes
which the labour of a life had accumulated on the dusty shelves of my old friend D--.
There were to be found no popular treatises, no entertaining romances, no histories, no
travels, no "Library for the People," no "Amusement for the Million." But there, perhaps,
throughout all Europe, the curious might discover the most notable collection, ever
amassed by an enthusiast, of the works of alchemist, cabalist, and astrologer. The owner
had lavished a fortune in the purchase of unsalable treasures. But old D-- did not desire to
sell. It absolutely went to his heart when a customer entered his shop: he watched the
movements of the presumptuous intruder with a vindictive glare; he fluttered around him