ASH RARE BOOKS
HIGHLIGHTS FROM ASH RARE BOOKS
HIGHLIGHTS FROM ASH RARE BOOKS
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BARNES, Julian, 1946- : METROLAND.
London : Jonathan Cape, (1980). First edition. Signed by Julian Barnes on the title-page. His first novel – a passage to adulthood and marriage in Betjeman’s Metroland, via a spell in Paris with the exciting Annick during les événements of 1968. Filmed in 1997 with Christian Bale and Emily Watson.
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BENNETT, Arnold (Enoch Arnold), 1867-1931 : ANNA OF THE FIVE TOWNS : A NOVEL.
London : Chatto & Windus, 1902. First edition. A young woman struggles for freedom and independence in the Potteries – “There is excellent material in every character, and the grip of circumstance is strong and capable. Indeed, the picture of ‘The Five Towns’ with the life of prosaic labour, into which the mystery of romance yet creeps, is not only admirable but beautiful” (Contemporary review in The Pilot).
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BENNETT, Arnold (Enoch Arnold), 1867-1931 : THE GRIM SMILE OF THE FIVE TOWNS.
London : Chapman & Hall, 1907. First edition. Signed by Arnold Bennett on the front free endpaper. A collection of thirteen bitter-sweet short stories of the Five Towns, all but one previously unpublished. Includes “Baby’s Bath”, “The Silent Brothers”, “Vera’s First Christmas Adventure”, “The Murder of the Mandarin”, etc.
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BENNETT, Arnold (Enoch Arnold), 1867-1931 : THE OLD WIVES’ TALE : A NOVEL.
London : Chapman & Hall, 1908. First edition. Bennett’s celebrated chronicle of the lives and times of two contrasting sisters. “There is nothing, therefore, surprising in the fact that, in the longest novel he has yet essayed, Mr. Arnold Bennett should have scored his most complete success. We are not sure, indeed, that publication ... does not give its author an entirely new place among contemporary novelists” (Daily Telegraph, 2nd December 1908).
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BERGHAUS, Hermann, 1828-1890 : CHART OF THE WORLD ON MERCATORS PROJECTION.
Gotha : Justus Perthes, 1871. The seventh revision of this standard nineteenth-century wall-chart, originally published in 1863 and specifically designed for the British market to show “the lines of oceanic mail steam communication and overland routes, the international aerial and submarine telegraphs; and the principal tracks of sailing vessels; showing some continental surface characteristics, the oceanic currents and important deep-sea soundings”, etc. Twenty-five inset maps and plans add more detail of air currents, magnetic variation, projected canals, overland crossings, the principal ports, etc.
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BETJEMAN, John (Sir John), 1906-1984 : HIGH AND LOW.
London : John Murray, (1966). First edition : one of 100 special numbered copies on handmade paper, bound in white buckram, and signed by Betjeman. A collection of thirty-four new poems, with a verse preface, including “Cornish Cliffs”, “Monody on the Death of a Platonist Bank Clerk”, “The Cockney Amorist”, “Cricket Master”, etc.
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[BURROUGHS, William (William Seward), 1914-1997] – “LEE, William” : JUNKIE : BY WILLIAM LEE.
New York : Ace Books, (1953). First edition. His first book and a landmark of twentieth-century counterculture, written under a pseudonym in the aftermath of shooting dead Joan Vollmar, the mother of his son, in a drunken party game in Mexico City – “I am forced to the appalling conclusion that I would never have become a writer but for Joan’s death ... I have had no choice but to write my way out”. The original publication, published as an “Ace Double”, bound tête-bêche in “two books in one” format, with an abridged reprint of Maurice Helbrant’s 1941 “Narcotic Agent”.
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DAVIES, W.H. (William Henry), 1871-1940 : THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A SUPER-TRAMP.
London : A. C. Fifield, 1908. First edition. The first appearance of the book which made Davies’ name – a tramp by road and rail on both sides of the Atlantic in the late nineteenth century. A work of “primitive splendour and directness” (Osbert Sitwell). “Another effect of this book on me is to make me realize what a slave of convention I have been all my life. When I think of the way I worked tamely for my living during all those years when Mr. Davies, a free knight of the highway, lived like a pet bird on titbits, I feel that I have been duped out of my natural liberty” – from the preface by George Bernard Shaw.
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[DISRAELI, Benjamin, First Earl of Beaconsfield, 1804-1881] : THE YOUNG DUKE.
London : Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1831. First edition. Disraeli’s intriguing early novel of high society – “all rings, ringlets, and a little rouge” – a wastrel redeemed by the love of a good woman, etc., but also the novel in which we first see the evolution of Disraeli’s politics and what was soon to become his particular brand of one-nation conservatism.
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DOUGLAS, Norman (George Norman), 1868-1952 : SIREN LAND.
London : J. M. Dent & Sons, 1911. First edition : although 1,500 copies were printed, 200 were sent to New York to make up the American edition – and 890 were later pulped, leaving a maximum of 410 surviving copies. “A new stage of intimacy in the Anglo-Italian love affair and one of the happiest of travel books” – Cyril Connolly citing this among his 100 Key-Books of the Modern Movement.
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EGAN, Pierce, 1772-1849 : LIFE IN LONDON; OR, THE DAY AND NIGHT SCENES OF JERRY HAWTHORN, ESQ. AND HIS ELEGANT FRIEND CORINTHIAN TOM, ACCOMPANIED BY BOB LOGIC, THE OXONIAN, IN THEIR RAMBLES AND SPREES THROUGH THE METROPOLIS.
London : for Sherwood, Neely & Jones, 1821. First edition : the second issue, with the footnote on p.9. Pierce Egan’s roaring and runaway success – racy, slangy, and riotous adventures among the highest of high life and the lowest of low life in Regency London – “In his particular line, he was the greatest man in England” (John Camden Hotten). The sparkling text which took the country by storm as it appeared in instalments between August 1820 and July 1821 is gloriously accompanied by the superb aquatints of the brothers Isaac Robert and George Cruikshank, many depicting recognisable London scenes.
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FADEN, William, 1749-1836 : THE COUNTRY TWENTY-FIVE MILES ROUND LONDON, PLANNED FROM A SCALE OF ONE MILE TO AN INCH.
London : W. Faden, 1815. The “third edition” of this large and handsome map of the Greater London area – extending on a one-inch scale northwards to take in Tring and Hertford, east to Chelmsford and Basildon, south to Tonbridge, Dorking and Guildford, and west beyond Beaconsfield and Windsor. Faden was a maker of serious maps for serious purposes – “the turnpike roads are all laid down from an actual measurement with a perambulator” – and this map, originally published in 1788, was the best of its time. It was regularly updated – the present issue revised to include the new Regent’s Park and new Strand (Waterloo) Bridge – and remained in print until at least 1880.
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FAULKS, Sebastian, 1953- : BIRDSONG.
London : Hutchinson, (1993). First edition. Loosely inserted is Faulks’ printed compliments slip, inscribed and signed by Faulks to Peter Wilkinson, “for his edition of Birdsong”. His fourth and most famous novel, set before and during the Great War. Soon adapted for radio and the stage, with a television version in 2012, starring Eddie Redmayne and Clémence Poésy.
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FRASER, George MacDonald, 1925-2008 : FLASHMAN IN THE GREAT GAME.
London : Barrie & Jenkins (1975). First edition. What caused the Indian Mutiny? It began with Lord Palmerston commissioning Flashman at Balmoral – the Siege of Cawnpore, Lucknow, etc., with notable appearances from Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Lord Cardigan, Florence Nightingale, etc.
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FREEMAN, R. Austin (Richard Austin), 1862-1943 : THE PENROSE MYSTERY.
London : Hodder & Stoughton, (1936). First edition : the first issue, with the top edge stained blue. Wealthy collector of antiquities disappears after a hit-and-run – Thorndyke investigates.
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GRAVES, Robert (Robert von Ranke), 1895-1985 : I, CLAUDIUS: FROM THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF TIBERIUS CLAUDIUS EMPEROR OF THE ROMANS BORN B.C. 10 MURDERED AND DEIFIED A.D. 54. / CLAUDIUS THE GOD AND HIS WIFE MESSALINA ...
London : Arthur Barker, 1934. First editions of the two separately published volumes of Graves’ “I Claudius” masterpiece. “I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as ‘Claudius the Idiot’, or ‘That Claudius’, or ‘Claudius the Stammerer’, or ‘Clau-Clau-Claudius’ or at best as ‘Poor Uncle Claudius’, am now about to write this strange history of my life ...”.
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HALL, S. C. (Samuel Carter), 1800-1889 – editor : THE BOOK OF BRITISH BALLADS.
London : Jeremiah How, 1842-1844. A first edition set of both series of this elaborate and much-lauded production. A copiously illustrated collection of fifty-two of the finest English ballads, each with an introduction – including “Chevy Chase”, “Fair Rosamond”, “Genevieve”, “King Arthur’s Death”, “Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne”, “Sir Lancelot du Lake”, “The Blind Beggar of Bednall Green”, “The Demon Lover”, “The Nut-Brown Mayd”, etc. – illustrated with wood-engravings by the foremost artists and engravers of the period, including, among the artists, Edward Corbould, “Alfred Crowquill”, Richard Dadd, John Franklin, William Powell Frith, Sir John Gilbert, Kenny Meadows, Sir Joseph Noel Paton and Sir John Tenniel, and among the engravers – Frederick Branston, George Dalziel, Edmund Evans, William Folkard, Mason Jackson, Ebenezer Landells, William James Linton, Orrin Smith, Henry Vizetelly and John Walmsley. “The most ambitious English book with wood engravings during the period under survey” (Gordon Ray, “The Illustrator and the Book in England from 1790 to 1914”).
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HARDY, Thomas, 1840-1928 : THE WOODLANDERS.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1887. First edition : one of just 860 copies in the primary binding. The story of Grace Melbury, the faithful Giles Winterborne, and the faithless Edred Fitzpiers. Controversial for its time, but “his loveliest if not his finest book” (Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch) and “the most beautiful and most noble of Hardy’s novels” (William Lyon Phelps) – and indeed Hardy’s own favourite – “On taking up ‘The Woodlanders’ and reading it after many years, I like it as a story best of all”.
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HOWELL, James, 1594?-1666 : LONDINOPOLIS; AN HISTORICALL DISCOURSE OR PERLUSTRATION OF THE CITY OF LONDON, THE IMPERIAL CHAMBER, AND CHIEF EMPORIUM OF GREAT BRITAIN ...
London : by J. Streater, for Henry Twiford, George Sawbridge, Thomas Dring, and John Place, 1657. First edition. One of the earliest printed histories of London, second only to the early editions of Stow in terms of chronology. Compiled by the versatile and engaging Welsh author, royalist, politician and traveller, James Howell, after his release from a lengthy imprisonment at the time of the Interregnum. With accounts of St. Paul’s and the other ancient churches; the individual wards and precincts; the governance of the City; the walls, streets, gates and prisons; the Inns of Court; the twelve great livery companies; the company halls; the Tower, the Royal Exchange, the Guildhall and other prominent buildings; the Thames; London Bridge; the mayoralty; the city of Westminster and the Abbey; the Strand; Covent Garden; Lincoln’s Inn; Westminster Hall; Parliament, the Admiralty, etc.
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HUGHES, Ted (Edward James), 1930-1998 : THE MERMAID’S PURSE.
[Bideford] : Sunstone Press, (1993). First edition : published in a limited edition of 100 copies by Hughes’ own Sunstone Press, but this copy, without the limitation statement, evidently bound up from a small over-run of sheets remaining at the printers. Twenty-eight poems on the creatures of the sea – “Starfish”, “Whelk”, “Whale”, “Lobster”, etc. – each stunningly illustrated with a full-page colour illustration by Hughes’s Sunstone partner, the artist Reginald James Lloyd (b.1926). A disagreement with his regular publishers, Faber & Faber, over this “naughty adventure” in self-publishing meant that when the Faber edition eventually appeared, after Hughes’ death and six years later, the illustrations were by a different artist (Flora McDonnell) and, attractive as they are, they are simply not the original illustrations of this full collaboration between artist and poet – the work of each inspired by the other.
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“JANSON, Hank” – [FRANCES, Stephen Daniel, 1917-1989] : LILIES FOR MY LOVELY.
London : S. D. Frances, . First edition. The sixth book of the first series – Janson in Des Moines, Iowa – “She was a dead dame. But that took an awful lot of believing because folk just don’t die that way ... So that started everything, including a lotta misery for June and a live guy winding up in a coffin that was due for cremation”.
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LEIGH-FERMOR, Patrick (Sir Patrick Michael), 1915-2011 : A TIME OF GIFTS : ON FOOT TO CONSTANTINOPLE: FROM THE HOOK OF HOLLAND TO THE MIDDLE DANUBE.
London : John Murray, (1977). First edition. On foot across Europe at the age of eighteen in the 1930s – “like a tramp, a pilgrim, or a wandering scholar” through Holland, Germany, Vienna, Prague, and on into Hungary – the first instalment of a famous journey reconstructed from maps, memories, and a diary – fascinating on every page. One of the twentieth-century classics – a “sublime masterpiece” (William Dalrymple).
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MARRYAT, Frederick, 1792-1848 : THE TRAVELS AND ROMANTIC ADVENTURES OF MONSIEUR VIOLET, AMONG THE SNAKE INDIANS AND WILD TRIBES OF THE WESTERN PRAIRIES.
London : Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1843. First edition : the second issue, with the variant title. “A vigorous, dashing sketch of the prairies of California, the wildernesses of the Rocky Mountains, and the swamps of Texas” (Court Journal). Originally issued a little earlier as “Narrative of the Travels and Adventures of Monsieur Violet in California, Sonora and Western Texas”, Sadleir suggests that the book was relaunched with a more exciting title specifically for the gift-books for boys market. Scarce in either incarnation, Marryat’s novel, full of factual information drawn from (unacknowledged) contemporary sources and his own visit to the Americas, is perhaps the earliest children’s book with an American Wild West setting. It is certainly the first work of fiction to contain Mormon characters and remains an important source of information on the pre Gold Rush California of the 1830s.
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MASON, A.E.W. (Alfred Edward Woodley), 1865-1948 : THE FOUR FEATHERS.
London : Smith, Elder & Co., 1902. First edition. Mason’s enduring tale of courage, cowardice and redemption – made into popular films on at least seven occasions from 1915 onwards, of which perhaps the most memorable is that directed by Zoltan Korda and starring Ralph Richardson, C. Aubrey Smith, and June Duprez.
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MOLL, Herman, fl.1678-1732 : A NEW MAP OF THE WHOLE WORLD WITH THE TRADE WINDS ACCORDING TO YE LATEST AND MOST EXACT OBS-ERVATIONS.
[London : for Thomas Bowles and John Bowles], 1727 [but ca.1732]. A handsome map of the world in hemispheres – the extremes of the earth as yet unknown in Europe – California shown as an island, the coastlines of “New Zeeland”, “New Holland” and “Japon” hazy and incomplete. Inset between the spandrels are a map of the North Pole, notes on the prevailing trade-winds and the northern and southern signs of the zodiac, while along the lower border is a frieze depicting the people and riches of the earth. Originally produced in 1727 for Moll’s “Atlas Minor”, but here in a slightly later but still early impression.
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MONTAGU, Lady Mary Wortley, 1689-1762 : THE WORKS OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU. INCLUDING HER CORRESPONDENCE, POEMS AND ESSAYS. PUBLISHED BY PERMISSION FROM HER GENUINE PAPERS.
London : for Richard Phillips, 1803. First collected edition of the convention-defying Lady Mary Wortley Montagu – with an extensive selection of her letters from Constantinople, Venice and other foreign parts, a selection of poems, some of the essays, her translation of Epictetus, etc. Anonymously edited, with a memoir, by James Dallaway (1763-1834), from materials supplied by her son-in-law, Lord Bute – apparently in exchange for the suppression of other manuscripts held by Richard Phillips, the publisher.
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MORRISON, Arthur (Arthur George), 1863-1945 : TALES OF MEAN STREETS : LIZERUNT : SQUIRE NAPPER : WITHOUT VISIBLE MEANS : THREE ROUNDS AND OTHERS.
London : Methuen & Co., 1894. First edition. Morrison’s extraordinary vision of the late Victorian mean streets of the East End of London – “Unquestionably an achievement of art ... something more than remarkable. The tune is new in the sense in which the new woman, and the new drama, and the new hedonism, and the other clamant bores of the period are not new ... It is akin to a shock, to a sudden gust of east wind. But to those who care for all humanity ... it should be something like a godsend” (Pall Mall Gazette, 19th November 1894).
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NEVILLE, Richard (Richard Clive), 1941-2016 : PLAY POWER.
London : Jonathan Cape, (1970). First edition. Exploring the international underground with one of its prime movers and makers – psychedelic shrines in Katmandu; New York yippies posting marijuana cigarettes to strangers; Living Theatre wrecking marriages as conscientious social sabotage; international situationists adding LSD to the Paris événements; Mick Jagger in a party frock freeing butterflies before half a million; freaks throwing money at stockbrokers – ah, the sixties – if you can remember them, you weren’t really there.
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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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POST OFFICE : PRINCIPAL STREETS AND PLACES IN LONDON AND ITS ENVIRONS, AS DIVIDED INTO POSTAL DISTRICTS. WITH MAPS.
London : printed by George E. Eyre & William Spottiswoode, 1857. [Second edition]. London was first divided into postal districts in 1857-1858, to a plan devised by Sir Rowland Hill in 1856 – a circle of roughly twelve miles radius from the General Post Office in St. Martin’s-le-Grand being split into ten districts, “each to be treated, in many respects, as a separate town”. The present alphabetical index and guide first appeared in 1856, but for this edition was furnished with maps of the districts, converting it into one of the very earliest London street atlases. A folding index map covers the whole area, followed by individual maps of the whole of the Eastern Central (EC) and Western Central (WC) districts, and further maps of the innermost portions of the Northern, North Eastern, Eastern, South Eastern, Southern, South Western, Western, and North Western districts – these corresponding approximately to the modern head districts – N1, E1, SE1, SW1, W1 and NW1. The North Eastern and Southern districts were abolished in the 1860s following a report by Anthony Trollope – hence no modern S or NE London postcodes.
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RAMSAY, Andrew C. (Sir Andrew Crombie), 1814-1891 : GEOLOGICAL MAP OF ENGLAND & WALES.
London : Edward Stanford, 1866. Third edition. A magnificent and vibrantly-coloured wall-map compiled by Sir Andrew Crombie Ramsay, at this time Local Director and later to become Director-General of H. M. Geological Survey. England and Wales on a scale of twelve miles to the inch, hand-coloured in a multiplicity of carefully variegated colours to show the different strata. One of the most handsome British geological productions of the nineteenth century. Originally published in 1859 and carefully giving a list of authorities consulted.
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RATTIGAN, Terence (Sir Terence Mervyn), 1911-1977 : THE WINSLOW BOY.
London : Hamish Hamilton, (1946). First edition. The pursuit of justice for the unimportant – one of the defining plays of the mid twentieth century, frequently revived and here inscribed by Rattigan to his secretary Mary, signed with forename (Terry) and dated October 1946. Mary Herring began working for Rattigan shortly before the play opened at the Lyric and was to become his confidante, companion, guardian of his reputation, controller of his finances, and keeper of his secrets for the next seventeen years.
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SEARLE, Ronald (Ronald William Fordham), 1920-2011 : BACK TO THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE AND OTHER UGLY MOMENTS.
London : Macdonald & Co. (Publishers), (1951). First edition. An outstanding presentation copy, inscribed “For John with best wishes and never failing regard from St. Trinians and Ronald Searle”, the message and signature incorporated in a placard being held aloft by a St. Trinian’s girl in a delightful original pen, ink and wash sketch by Searle on the front free endpaper.
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TENNYSON, Alfred (Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron), 1809-1892 : MAUD, AND OTHER POEMS.
London : Edward Moxon, 1855. First edition. A major collection of Tennyson’s poetry (and his own favourite to the end of his days), which added not only “Come into the garden, Maud”, but also “Half a league onward”, “Theirs not to reason why” and “Cannon to the right of them” to the universal canon of most quoted lines.
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TREWMAN, Robert, 1738-1802 : THE PRINCIPLES OF FREE-MASONRY DELINEATED.
Exeter : Printed (and sold) by R. Trewman, 1777. First edition. An attractive provincial masonic miscellany, compiled, printed and published by the Exeter bookseller Robert Trewman. Comprises various charges and addresses – on masonry, initiation, charity, masters of lodges, etc., with prayers, laws for lodges, ceremonies of consecration, installation and laying foundations, funerals, etc., a rebuttal of objections to freemasonry, material on Freemasons’ Hall, the antient masons, the York masons, together with anthems, odes, an extensive selection of songs, a list of English lodges, etc., and a list of some 260 mainly local subscribers.
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WELLS, H.G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946 : THE NEW WORLD ORDER.
London : Secker & Warburg, 1940. First edition. An uncommon late Wells – as a World War develops he advances a grim choice between revolution and destruction – “I mean exactly what I say, the disastrous extinction of mankind”. He proposes a “way to a world realisation of collective unity”, via scientifically planned and directed socialism, the rule of law, and total freedom of speech. “The book is full of things that bite and sting ... He is at any rate thoroughly alive. And towards the end he rejoices ... ‘The world has never been so awake’”(Aberdeen Press, 1st January 1940).
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WILLIAMSON, Henry (Henry William), 1895-1977 : SALAR THE SALMON.
London : Faber & Faber, (1935). First edition. The perilous journey home through Devon rivers of a twenty-pound salmon – “a rare and beautiful book that should take its place as a classic among the few that are written at once with a poet’s insight and a naturalist’s knowledge” (New York Times).
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YEATS, W.B. (William Butler), 1865-1939 : WORDS FOR MUSIC PERHAPS AND OTHER POEMS.
Dublin : Cuala Press, 1932. First edition : limited to 450 copies printed and published by Elizabeth Corbet Yeats at the Cuala Press. A collection of forty-six poems, including some of Yeats’ finest work – “Byzantium”, “Coole Park 1929”, “The Nineteenth Century and After”, “The Crazed Moon”, “Quarrel in Old Age”, “I Am of Ireland”, the “Crazy Jane” sequence, etc.
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