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The Lost Stradivarius
by John Meade Falkner
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Set in Oxford and Naples during the 1840s, The Lost Stradivarius is a tale of demonic possession and of the terrible price paid by "those who would exalt art at the expense of everything else." Though long recognized as a classic and gripping story of the occult, it is also a work which
touches the "decadent" years of the nineteenth century at sensitive points--the psychical, the moral, and the aesthetic. This is the only annotated edition available and it contains extensive notes about the Aesthetic Movement, neoplatonism, and musical instruments.
While studying at Oxford, John Maltravers, a talented musician, finds that playing a certain air on his violin brings an invisible guest to his room. The ghostly visits become more frequent, until he eventually sees the figure of a man sitting and listening to his playing. His subsequent discovery of an old Stradivarius violin hidden in a secret cupboard in his room, while improving his skill as a musician, seems to cause a change in his character. As his violin playing becomes an obsession he is drawn away from his old values, his family and even his faith, towards more sinister interests. The tale of the possession of a young man by the restless spirit of an eighteenth century necromancer, 'The Lost Stradivarius' is a classic work of supernatural literature.
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