New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1908.
First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. 7.5" x 5.75", 165 pp., in a beautiful original cloth binding designed by Robert Weir Crouch, with lovely ornamental borders and other decorative elements throughout. A very good copy with lght soiling to spine and back cover. Mary Crawford Fraser (1851-1922) was a writer of memoirs and historical fiction. She lived in Japan from 1888 to 1894 while her husband, Hugh Fraser, was the British Minister to Japan. The Heart of a Geisha is a historical novel that explores inter-class relationships in Japan. As described in Victorian Women Travellers in Meiji Japan (Sterry, 2009), it is " set in Kyoto just before the Restoration, and was inspired by some of the more dramatic aspects of the early life of Hirobumi Ito, who rose to be a member of the ruling political oligarchy and was the first cabinet prime minister of Japan....In the story, as in the real life of Ito, a samurai is assisted to escape his enemies with the help of a geisha. The complicated plot centers on the characters of the swashbuckling samurai and the gentle, loyal, and brave geisha who sacrifices her honor to a lascivious Inspector to allow the samurai to make good his escape. This story acts as a vehicle for Mrs. Fraser to explore the role of the Geisha in Japanese society." A scarce title with both content and design interest.