ASH RARE BOOKS – ANTIQUARIAN RARE AND FINE BOOKS – FIRST EDITIONS – ANTIQUE MAPS AND PRINTS
ASH RARE BOOKS
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AINSWORTH, William Harrison, 1805-1882 : SAINT JAMES’S; OR, THE COURT OF QUEEN ANNE. AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE.
London : John Mortimer; Parry, Blenkarn & Co., 1844. First edition. Ainsworth at the height of his fame with a tale of political intrigue and power at the court of Queen Anne — the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough; Robert Harley, first Earl of Oxford; Henry St. John, first Viscount Bolingbroke, etc. “Many would have backed Ainsworth’s talent against Dickens’s in 1840” (John Sutherland).
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BEDDOES, T. H. Willoughby (Thomas Henry Willoughby), 1846-1906 : A GODDESS OF THE SEA.
London : Henry J. Drane, . First edition — the printed title slightly at odds with the cover title. Beautiful English heiress Stella Carlyon goes missing in China and metamorphoses into the goddess of a piratical cult, worshipped by priests and acolytes — aristocratic cousin Eric to the rescue. Beddoes was a retired Royal Navy commander with an uncommon understanding of China — “this thrilling story needs to be read through and through to be appreciated” (Dundee Courier, 9th December 1903).
BIRD, Drayton (Charles Colston Drayton), 1936- : SOME RATS RUN FASTER.
London : Secker & Warburg, (1964). First edition. “Albert Jones made it from layabout to property racketeer in three months flat ... Against a backdrop of Manchester’s bright lights and slum streets — its tearaways and whores, students and sharp operators — this picaresque story offers unusual realism and rare entertainment”. An interesting and in some ways the archetypal sixties novel — Bird’s first book, written as a young advertising executive, long before he became famous as the doyen of marketing men.
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BOSWELL, James, 1740-1795 : BOSWELL’S LIFE OF JOHNSON.
London : Archibald Constable, 1906. A standard set of “what remains the most famous biography in any language, one of Western literature’s most germinal achievements: unprecedented in its time in its depth of research and its extensive use of private correspondence and recorded conversation” (Gordon Turnbull in ODNB). Boswell on Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), first published in 1791, and here edited by Augustine Birrell (1850-1833), retaining all the prefatory matter of the earliest editions.
BUCHAN, John, 1875-1940 : THE ISLAND OF SHEEP.
London : Hodder & Stoughton, (1936). First British edition. The fifth and last of the Richard Hannay novels (although he does make a brief appearance in one later book). “Three men stood on a hill in an African kraal, and swore life-long loyalty to a fourth man and his descendants ... in two well-directed leaps we are in the thick of a kidnapping plot as menacing and as credible as any of the author’s best inventions ... from the first chapter one realises that men who feel as they do about duck-shooting and the English spring can never be allowed to lose whatever game they are playing” (The Sphere, 1st August 1936).
“CAIRO, Jack” — [FODEN, Frederick Tom, 1907-1982] : THE BODY DUTIFUL.
London : Milestone Publications, (1953). First edition. “Johnny Farrell’s first assignment was simple enough — to locate Kay Burnett in the windy city and return her to her rich pa”. Irresistible female crook throws a spanner in the works. “Jack Cairo” was a Milestone house-name, but generally used by Foden.
CAMINADA, Jerome, 1844-1914 : TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF DETECTIVE LIFE.
Manchester : John Heywood, 1895. First edition. The authentic memoirs of the legendary Manchester detective, widely thought to be a model for Sherlock Holmes — an unorthodox policeman who relied on a mastery of disguise as well as a network of informers. The man who solved the Manchester Cab Murder, he became the first Superintendent of the Manchester C.I.D. in 1897. Reminiscences of thieves, card-sharpers, fraudsters, burglars, race-course crooks, bullies and cadgers, bogus railway bonds, confidence tricks, arsonists, anarchists, gambling hells, and much else. A supplementary volume was published at his own expense in 1901.
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CENTLIVRE, Susanna, 1669?-1723 : THE DRAMATIC WORKS OF THE CELEBRATED MRS. CENTLIVRE, WITH A NEW ACCOUNT OF HER LIFE.
London : John Pearson, 1872. Second collected edition. “Writing is a kind of lottery in this fickle age, and dependence on the stage is as precarious as the cast of a die”. All nineteen of Centlivre’s plays, from the “The Perjur’d Husband”, which “went off with general applause” in 1700, to “The Artifice” of 1722, including “The Wonder” (1714) — which Garrick chose for his farewell performance in 1776 — and “The Busie Body” (1709) — another Garrick favourite, which ran to forty editions before 1884; “The Gamester” (1705) — probably her most popular; “The Man’s Bewitch’d” (1709) — with its heroine’s rousing chorus of “Give Me Liberty and Love”, and “The Gotham Election” (1715) — the first English play to deal with vote-rigging and considered too dangerous ever to be staged, as well as “The Platonick Lady” (1706), “The Perplex’d Lovers” (1712), etc. With facsimiles of the title-pages of the only earlier collected edition of 1760-1761.
CHANCELLOR, E. Beresford (Edwin Beresford), 1868-1937 : THE XVIIITH CENTURY IN LONDON : AN ACCOUNT OF ITS SOCIAL LIFE AND ARTS.
London : B. T. Batsford, . First edition. “This very handsome quarto, which contains a wealth of information, very difficult to acquire, reproduces a series of illustrations even more difficult to get possession of. The subject is divided into eight sections, which include street topography, pleasure resorts, clubs, coffee houses and taverns ... great houses and public buildings, churches, and so on. Its pictures alone are a delight, not least the wonderful photographs of the interiors, and such buildings as remain” (The Graphic, 12th November 1921).
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CHRISTIE, Agatha (Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa), 1890-1976 : THEY CAME TO BAGHDAD.
London : Collins for The Crime Club, (1951). First edition. A foray into the spy thriller genre — secret summit of the super-powers, etc. “The usual spirited young creature is Victoria Jones, a London typist with a gift of mimicry and genius for telling lies” (Illustrated London News, 28th April 1951).
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CONRAD, Joseph, 1857-1924 : UNDER WESTERN EYES.
London : Methuen & Co., (1911). First edition. “The man who says he has no illusions has at least that one” — Conrad with his classic of terrorism, set variously in St. Petersburg and Geneva and published 5th October 1911. “Any hesitation seems to lie, not in over-estimating, but in doing justice to the rare truth and beauty of Mr. Conrad’s latest book. No Englishman could have written it” (The Sketch, 25th October 1911).
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CONRAD, Joseph, 1857-1924 : TALES OF HEARSAY.
London : T. Fisher Unwin, 1925. First edition. Four short stories previously unpublished in book form — “The Warrior’s Soul” — a moving tale of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow, written during the Great War; “Prince Roman” — the Polish Patriot; “The Tale” — moral dilemmas at sea in the Great War, and “The Black Mate” — one of his earliest ventures into fiction. With a foreword by R. B. Cunninghame Graham (1852-1936). Published posthumously to the delight and acclaim of contemporary reviewers — “A substantial addition to Conrad’s best work” (The Scotsman); “one of the most remarkable books of short stories ever issued” (Daily Dispatch); “No unconsidered trifles ... They are of the stuff by which he will be judged” (Manchester Guardian).
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DOYLE, A. Conan (Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan), 1859-1930 : THE CASE-BOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES.
London : John Murray, (1927). First edition. The last of the Sherlock Holmes books, a dozen final stories with no loss of power, including “The Adventure of the Illustrious Client”, “The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone”, “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire”, etc. Two of the stories are narrated by Holmes himself, rather than Watson. In announcing this positively final appearance, Conan Doyle noted, “I fear that Mr. Sherlock Holmes may become like one of those popular tenors who, having outlived their time, are still tempted to make repeated farewell bows to their indulgent audiences”.
DOYLE, A. Conan (Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan), 1859-1930 : SHERLOCK HOLMES : A STUDY IN SCARLET ... THE COMPLETE LONG STORIES.
London : John Murray, (1929). First edition of this collection of all four of the novels — “A Study in Scarlet”, “The Sign of Four”, “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, and “The Valley of Fear” — with an interesting new preface by Conan Doyle on their genesis: “Having endured a severe course of training in medical diagnosis, I felt that if the same austere methods of observation and reasoning were applied to the problems of crime some more scientific system could be constructed. On the whole, taking the series of books, my view has been justified, as I understand that in several countries some change has been made in police procedure on account of these stories. It is all very well to sneer at the paper detective, but a principle is a principle, whether in fiction or in fact”.
[ENGLISH SCHOOL] : THE PARISH OF ST. JAMES CLERKENWELL TAKEN FROM YE LAST SURVEY WITH CORRECTIONS.
[London : for A. Churchill, J. Knapton & others, 1720]. A most attractive early eighteenth-century parish map, engraved on a generous scale of just under two inches to 600 feet — Clerkenwell Green, Clerkenwell Close and the surrounding streets — Turnmill Street running south, St. John’s Gate and Lane, eastwards across St. John Street to what is now the Goswell Road, and north across open fields past the “Ducking Pond”, “Black Marys Hole” and the “Madd House” to “New River Pond”, “Sadlers Well” and the fringes of Islington. A numbered key gives the names of thirty-five smaller streets, courts and alleys. Originally produced for the 1720 edition of John Stow’s “Survey of London”.
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FREEMAN, R. Austin (Richard Austin), 1862-1943 : JOHN THORNDYKE’S CASES. RELATED BY CHRISTOPHER JERVIS, M.D. AND EDITED BY R. AUSTIN FREEMAN ...
London : Chatto & Windus, 1909. First edition. Dr Thorndyke, first of the modern forensic detectives, here appearing in eight stories, including “The Anthropologist at Large” and “The Blue Sequin”. Introduced in Freeman’s preface as “a somewhat new departure in this class of literature” — as indeed it was, with illustrations to back up the forensics. A Haycraft-Queen “cornerstone” of detective fiction.
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“GASH, Jonathan” — [GRANT, John, 1934- ] : GOLD FROM GEMINI.
London : William Collins Sons & Co. (Crime Club), (1978). First edition. Lovejoy is broke, but has the clues to an amazing find. His means of financing the treasure hunt are idiosyncratic. The second Lovejoy novel.
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GRAVES, Robert (Robert von Ranke), 1895-1985 : LAWRENCE AND THE ARABS.
London : Jonathan Cape, (1927). First edition. “I have tried to give a picture of an exasperatingly complex personality in the easiest possible terms ... I have attempted a critical study of ‘Lawrence’ — the popular verdict that he is the most remarkable living Englishman, though I dislike such verdicts — I am inclined to accept”. Written with his subject’s approval and with the full assistance of family and friends.
HARDY, Thomas, 1840-1928 : WESSEX TALES : STRANGE, LIVELY, AND COMMONPLACE.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1888. First edition. Five stories from Hardy, “Fellow-Townsmen” — placed among the finest and most memorable of all his output; “The Withered Arm” and “The Three Strangers” — two outstanding horror stories; the much-admired “Interlopers at the Knap”, and “The Distracted Preacher” — a surprisingly comic cameo. Just 750 copies were printed, and only 634 of those issued in the original two volumes.
HUGHES, Ted (Edward James), 1930-1998 : THE HAWK IN THE RAIN.
London : Faber & Faber, (1957). First edition : [one of 2,000 copies]. His uncommon first book — a collection of forty poems, dedicated to Sylvia Plath, whom he had married the previous year. An attractive association copy — the review copy sent to fellow poet Roy Fuller (1912-1991), with the publishers’ review slip, Fuller’s pencilled notes on the reverse of the slip, and his inked ownership inscription. Fuller’s review appeared in the “London Magazine” in January 1958.
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HUNT, Leigh (James Henry Leigh), 1784-1859 : THE OLD COURT SUBURB; OR, MEMORIALS OF KENSINGTON, REGAL, CRITICAL, AND ANECDOTICAL.
London : Hurst & Blackett, 1855. First edition. Hunt’s charming and “anecdotical” history of the fashionable suburb, with material on Kensington Gore, Kensington House, the High Street, the church, Holland House, Kensington Palace and Gardens, and much more.
“JANSON, Hank” — [FRANCES, Stephen Daniel, 1917-1989] : THIS WOMAN IS DEATH.
London : S. D. Frances, . First edition : a variant with the price printed on the upper wrapper in blue rather than black. Although Frances had used the Hank Janson pseudonym twice before on unrelated books, this is the elusive first book of the first series of Hank Jansons proper, where author and hero become one — it was also the beginning of his extraordinary collaboration with the cover artist, Reginald Heade (1901-1957). Although published in an edition of 10,000 copies (Holland pp.59-61), the subsequent destruction orders imposed by various local authorities and the notoriety that attached to the 1954 and 1955 obscenity trials have made this a scarce book.
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JEFFERIES, Richard (John Richard), 1848-1887 : WORLD’S END. A STORY IN THREE BOOKS.
London : Tinsley Brothers, 1877. First edition : in the primary binding. “The leading idea in the tale is this: at Birmingham there is an immense property without an owner, and two years ago over 100 claimants from America and other countries held a family council there ... Something similar (under different names of localities etc.) forms the nucleus of my novel which shows how this vast property influences the lives of many people” (Jefferies in a letter of July 1876). His rare third novel, intended to appeal to lovers of the sensational in the style of Wilkie Collins — “He certainly succeeds in seizing on his reader’s attention from the first start, and his story, with all its faults, is never for a moment dull or trivial” (The Graphic, 25th August 1877).
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LEIGHTON, Marie C. (Marie Connor), 1865-1941 & LEIGHTON, Robert, 1859-1934 : CONVICT 99 : A TRUE STORY OF PENAL SERVITUDE.
London : Grant Richards, 1898. First edition. Laurence Gray, young man of humble background from Blackburn made good, is wrongfully arrested for murder on the day of his engagement to the beautiful Geraldine Lucas. On the one hand a powerful indictment of the penal system, on the other “a chaotic conglomeration of sensational incidents, flung together in an inartistic fashion” (Dundee Advertiser, 12 May 1898).
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LEWIS, Samuel, 1821-1862 : THE HISTORY AND TOPOGRAPHY OF THE PARISH OF SAINT MARY, ISLINGTON, IN THE COUNTY OF MIDDLESEX.
London : Printed for the author ... and published by J. H. Jackson, 1842. First edition. A handsomely illustrated local history, covering Islington, Holloway, Highbury, Barnsbury, Newington Green, Stroud Green, etc., taking in turn the early and manorial history, parish government, the St. Mary’s district and its later subdivisions — the St. John’s district, St. Paul’s district, Holy Trinity, the chapelries of St. Peter, St. James, All Saints and St. Stephen — the parts of Islington village in the parish of Clerkenwell, charities, biographical notes on local worthies, etc. Compiled by the younger Samuel Lewis, son of the publisher of topographical dictionaries.
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“MARS” — [BONVOISIN, Maurice Charles, 1849-1912] : LA VIE DE LONDRES : CÔTÉS RIANTS.
Paris : E. Plon, Nourrit & Cie., . First edition. The lighter side of London life and fashion as seen by the popular and irrepressible Belgian caricaturist — Charing Cross Station, lunch-hour on the Strand, Royal Ascot, Hyde Park and Rotten Row, Kensington, Piccadilly Circus, the Lowther Arcade, Piccadilly and Park Lane, Henley, the Music-Hall, Christmas parties, Kensington Gardens, Maidenhead, and so much more — sketches, studies and wry observation.
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MILTON, John, 1608-1674 : THE POETICAL WORKS OF JOHN MILTON.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1877. A standard edition of the poetry, printed on india paper and published in Macmillan’s “Globe Edition” series. Bound in 1883 in a very handsome binding, with fore-edge painting, for the Cambridge scholar-bookseller Robert Bowes (1835-1919) as a gift for his wife Fanny Bowes (1831-1903) on her birthday in June of that year. Inscribed and initialled by Bowes with his wife’s name and the date — with a further later inscription in a different hand commemorating her death in 1903. With Bowes’ personal “Quod Vis Potes” bookplate bound in. Bowes was a nephew of the publisher Alexander Macmillan (1818-1896) and his partner in the Cambridge bookshop of “Macmillan & Bowes”, while his wife Fanny Bowes was Macmillan’s sister-in-law. Sold together with the companion edition of “Poetical Works of Walter Scott” (1878), bound to match and evidently part of the original gift.
For more on these bindings, see my Bookhunter on Safari blog-post of 5th June 2020.
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MONTESQUIEU, Charles de Secondat, Baron de, 1689-1755 : THE PERSIAN LETTERS OF CHARLES DE SECONDAT MONTESQUIEU ... NOW FIRST COMPLETELY TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH WITH NOTES AND MEMOIR BY JOHN DAVIDSON ...
Philadelphia : Printed only for Subscribers by George Barrie, [ca.1896]. First American edition, limited to 1,000 numbered copies on hand-made paper, of this elegant rendition of Montesquieu’s famous satire on French and European civilisation, viewed through the prism of two fictional Persian travellers. The forthright and unafraid iconoclasm of the apostle of freedom, once “extolled to the clouds ... as the man of genius who had rediscovered the title-deeds of the human race”. First published in 1721 and translated into English the following year, but here in its first complete translation, as privately printed in England in 1892. Translated, with an introduction and biography, by the poet John Davidson (1857-1909), and graced with the delightful illustrations of the curious hermit artist Charles Édouard de Beaumont (1821-1888), etched by Émile Boilvin (1845-1899). Published in George Barrie’s impressive “Bibliophilist’s Library” series.
MOSS, W.G. (William George), -1854 : THE HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES OF THE TOWN AND PORT OF HASTINGS. ILLUSTRATED BY A SERIES OF ENGRAVINGS, FROM ORIGINAL DRAWINGS.
London : W. G. Moss; and sold by Simpkin and Marshall; and West, Hastings, 1824. First edition : the variant in royal 8vo format (it was also issued in a larger and smaller forms). The standard history, although fewer than 150 copies were subscribed for. The text is generally thought to have been written around Moss’s attractive illustrations by William Herbert (1772-1851), the antiquary and librarian. Moss himself, here described as “Draughtsman to His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge”, was a London painter who exhibited at the Royal Academy until 1827, but thereafter seems to have found employment as a clerk at the General Post Office. He died at Kennington in 1854. The present copy has interesting additional matter bound in — an additional illustration (see below), a four-page prospectus for the never-published “The History and Antiquities of the Rape of Hastings”, again to be by (or illustrated by) Moss, bearing the plaintive pencilled note “NB Save this leaf this work will not be finished”. This is followed by twenty-two leaves, fourteen of which are blank, the remainder carrying 17pp of manuscript transcription of a document of 1541 relating to Hastings, signed at the end Mr. Chas. Gay 1827.
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[MOULE, Thomas, 1784-1851] : MIDDLESEX.
[London : George Virtue, 1832]. One of the most attractive and popular of all antique maps of the county, decorated with a foliate border, coats of arms, allegorical figures and inset views of Westminster Bridge and Buckingham Palace. Originally engraved in 1832 by William Schmollinger (1811?-1869) for Moule’s part-work series “The English Counties Delineated” (London : 1830-1837) — and here in early state, before the addition of railways, etc.
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“NIMROD” — [APPERLEY, Charles James, 1778-1843] : REMARKS ON THE CONDITION OF HUNTERS, THE CHOICE OF HORSES, AND THEIR MANAGEMENT : IN A SERIES OF FAMILIAR LETTERS, ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE SPORTING MAGAZINE BETWEEN 1822 AND 1828.
London : M. A. Pittman, 1831. First edition. The first book from the pen of “unquestionably the greatest hunting correspondent of all time” (Higginson) — with everything one might wish to know about high-bred racers and hunters — bran mashes, broken wind, capped hocks, Cherry’s elastic pads, clipping, colic, curbs, docking, farcy, firing, founder, frog, megrims, rowels, spavins, splents and so much more — in entertaining anecdote and detailed practice.
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O’BRIEN, Edna (Josephine Edna), 1930- : [THE COUNTRY GIRLS TRILOGY].
London : Hutchinson & Co. (Publishers) / Jonathan Cape, (1960-1964). A first edition set of her scandalous trilogy — the separately published “The Country Girls” (1960) — Irish girls in black underwear, banned in Ireland, publicly burnt by her parish priest in Tuamgraney — “By turns beautiful and bawdy, funny and haunting ... often referred to as the quintessential tale of Irish girlhood, it is not the novel that broke the mould: it is the one that made it” (Eimear McBride); “The Lonely Girl” (1962) — filmed in 1964 as “The Girl With Green Eyes”, with Rita Tushingham, Lynn Redgrave, Peter Finch, etc. — and the darker concluding volume set in London, “Girls in Their Married Bliss” (1964).
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Ó’FAOLÁIN, Seán — [WHELAN, John Francis, 1900-1991] : A NEST OF SIMPLE FOLK : A NOVEL.
London : Jonathan Cape, (1933). First edition. The daughter of a county family marries the son of one of the tenants and is rejected by her kith and kin — a fine and unsentimental novel of Irish life. “From this straightforward account of the lives of a few Irish families we get an almost complete conception of the problem of Ireland” (Aberdeen Press, 12th October 1933).
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“ORWELL, George” — [BLAIR, Eric Arthur, 1903-1950] : NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR : A NOVEL.
London : Secker & Warburg, 1949. First edition. “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen ...”. The most compelling and chilling novel of the twentieth century — not least in that it now appears to have been widely adopted as an instruction manual. “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it”.
PASTON FAMILY : THE PASTON LETTERS A.D. 1422-1509.
London : Chatto & Windus / Exeter : James G. Commin, 1904. A “new and complete” library edition : limited to 600 numbered sets. “The most curious papers of the sort I ever saw” — the extraordinary treasure trove of the letters and papers of several generations of the Paston family of Norfolk and London, chronicling their lives, tribulations, successes and failures, as they rose from humble beginnings to high society — “They are the richest source there is for every aspect of the lives of gentlemen and gentlewomen of the English middle ages ... The history of the family in the fifteenth century is theirs alone” (ODNB). Although collections of the letters had appeared from 1787 onwards, this edition, with nearly 1,100 letters and papers, edited by James Gairdner (1828-1912) of the Public Record Office, was much the most comprehensive to appear until modern times.
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PROULX, E. Annie (Edna Annie, 1935- ) : THE SHIPPING NEWS.
New York : Charles Scribner’s Sons, (1993). First edition. A review copy of her Pulitzer Prize winning second novel, with the publishers’ promotional biographical notes, etc., loosely inserted — “The story is a dark comedy that revolves around Quoyle, a third-rate newspaper hack who ends up in Newfoundland reporting the shipping news for a rough-and-ready local weekly”.
SASSOON, Siegfried (Siegfried Loraine), 1886-1967 : [THE SHERSTON TRILOGY] MEMOIRS OF A FOX-HUNTING MAN / MEMOIRS OF AN INFANTRY OFFICER / SHERSTON’S PROGRESS.
London : Faber & Gwyer / Faber & Faber, (1928-1936). A first edition set of the three separately published volumes — “This is fiction, but with a difference — for the author, who wishes at present to remain anonymous, has himself lived the life of a hero” — the first two volumes were published anonymously, the first in an edition of just 1,500 copies. “The most satisfying piece of autobiography to be published in our time. All the equipment of a novelist is Sassoon’s. But what novel could equal in fascination this true story? The three books give him a place unique in English letters” (Howard Spring in the Evening Standard, 3rd September 1936).
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[SERRES DE LA TOUR, Alphonse-Joseph de, 1740?-1790?] : LONDRES ET SES ENVIRONS, OU GUIDE DES VOYAGEURS, CURIEUX ET AMATEURS DANS CETTE PARTIE DE L’ANGLETERRE ...
Paris : Chez Buisson, 1788. First edition. A charming eighteenth-century illustrated French guide to London from the journalist and refugee who had absconded to London with the aristocratic wife of his employer. Serres de la Tour includes chapters on the character of the people, the London way of life, the antiquity, the extent, the principal buildings in turn, the Thames, the hospitals, societies, institutions, markets, spectacles and amusements, the post, the taverns and cafes, etc. In an unusual feature at this date, the second volume comprises an alphabetical dictionary of the smaller towns and villages of the London area (from Abbots Langley to Windsor), with descriptions of each, this followed by notes on the principal English towns elsewhere, from Bath to York. As Adams points out, the folding plates are “larger and more handsome than those usually found in a duodecimo volume. They ... seem not to be associated with any British prints of the period. Most view the buildings at an unusually oblique angle and include ... much architectural detail”.
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SNOW, C.P. (Charles Percy Snow, 1st Baron), 1905-1980 : HOMECOMINGS.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1956. First edition. The sixth novel in the “Strangers and Brothers” sequence, taking Lewis Eliot through the war years, from Munich in 1938, via the end of one marriage and the beginning of another, to the unsettled post-war years.
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“SYNTAX, Dr.” : THE TOUR OF DOCTOR SYNTAX THROUGH LONDON, OR THE PLEASURES AND MISERIES OF THE METROPOLIS. A POEM BY DOCTOR SYNTAX.
London : J. Johnston, 1820. “Third edition” – i.e. a fresh impression of the original 1820 publication. The naive and pedantic “Doctor Syntax, learned sage, The pride and glory of the age” – with a series of comical adventures and mainly misadventures in London – an anonymous revival of this fictional character first invented by William Combe, but here set against some highly recognisable London scenes. The tale commences with Syntax and his wife Dolly poring over a map of London at the tea-table; arrival at the White Horse in Fetter Lane; robbed in St. Giles; behind the scenes at the opera; at a masquerade; rehearsing his play; in Hyde Park; at the Royal Academy; to Richmond by river; at Vauxhall Gardens; overboard at London Bridge; at the House of Commons; in a gambling den; at St. Paul’s; at the Bank of England; presented at Court to the Prince Regent; and the fate of the play, etc.
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TROLLOPE, Anthony, 1815-1882 : THE PRIME MINISTER.
London : Chapman & Hall, 1876. First edition. The fifth of the Palliser novels — Plantagenet Palliser is persuaded to head a fragile coalition government. Glencora disobeys an order. Lizzie Eustace reappears. “As regards the public, The Prime Minister was a failure. It was worse spoken of by the press than any novel I had written ... I do not think it probable that my name will remain among those who in the next century are known ... but if it does, the permanence of success will probably rest on the characters of Plantagenet Palliser, Lady Glencora ...” (Anthony Trollope).
WALLACE, Edgar (Richard Horatio Edgar), 1875-1932 : THE FOUR JUST MEN.
London : Tallis Press, 1905. First edition. His first thriller — the assassination of the Foreign Secretary. Launched in a blaze of publicity Wallace could not afford, the front cover advertises a total of £500 in prizes to anyone capable of solving the final mystery. The present copy has the original numbered and perforated competition slip at the rear.
[WILDE, Oscar (Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills), 1854-1900] : THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST : A TRIVIAL COMEDY FOR SERIOUS PEOPLE. BY THE AUTHOR OF LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN.
London : Leonard Smithers & Co., 1899. First edition : limited to 1,000 copies — this copy not numbered and out of series. Wilde’s most famous and most enduring play, published quasi-anonymously after his fall from grace, just eighteen months before he died. “If I am occasionally a little over-dressed, I make up for it by being always immensely over-educated”.
WODEHOUSE, P.G. (Sir Pelham Grenville), 1881-1975 : DO BUTLERS BURGLE BANKS?
London : Herbert Jenkins, (1968). First British edition. Safe-crackers, butlers, bankers, a maiden aunt, a cook, policemen and public houses in the Vale of Evesham. Originally published in New York a few weeks earlier with a slightly different text.
WOOD, Walter, 1866-1961 : THE ENEMY IN OUR MIDST : THE STORY OF A RAID ON ENGLAND.
London : John Long, (1906). First edition. A German plot to infiltrate and conquer — “Entitled to more respectful attention than the wild and whirling efforts of the ordinary sensational novelist ... Mr. Wood shows what a source of peril these foreigners might become if only it occurred to some potentate of Europe to utilise them as allies in case of an invasion ... There are quite half a score of good points in it to which we ourselves should like to draw special attention” (London Evening Standard, 17th May 1906).
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