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ADAMS, Douglas (Douglas Noel), 1952-2001 : THE HITCH HIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY.
London : Pan Books, (1979). First edition : precedes the hardback edition by some months. “People of Earth, your attention please. This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council ...”. The first appearance in print of the seminal radio series.
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AMES, Delano (Delano L.), 1906-1987 : CORPSE DIPLOMATIQUE.
London : Hodder & Stoughton, (1950). First edition. “But, madam, you have a husband who asks many questions – why, I do not know. You have a husband who suddenly says ‘Bang!’ A husband who speaks of knives, and poisoned coffee and of bombs. A husband who makes me very, very nervous”. The fourth in the delightful Dagobert and Jane Brown series – “Those meeting the Browns for the first time have a treat in store. Here they are detecting with wit on the Riviera ...” (Aberdeen Press, 28th October 1950).
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BEAUMONT, Francis, 1584-1616 & FLETCHER, John, 1579-1625 : BEAUMONT & FLETCHER.
London : Vizetelly & Co., 1887. First Mermaid edition. The unexpurgated text of the ten major plays in Havelock Ellis’s sought-after Mermaid Series of “The Best Plays of the Old Dramatists” – “The Maid’s Tragedy”, “Philaster”, “The Wild-Goose Chase”, “Thierry and Theodoret”, “The Knight of the Burning Pestle”, “King and No King”, “Bonduca”, “The Spanish Curate”, “The Faithful Shepherdess” and “Valentinian”. Edited, with a long and perceptive introduction, notes, etc., by John St. Loe Strachey (1860-1927).
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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).
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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 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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BLESSINGTON, Marguerite, Countess of, 1789-1849 : THE CONFESSIONS OF AN ELDERLY GENTLEMAN.
London : Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green & Longman, 1836. First edition. “Now, when a lady tells a gentleman that ‘he is too bad’, he is apt to construe her assertion into a sort of avowal that he is not bad enough ...” – a wise and witty fiction from Lady Blessington, as an elderly gentleman looks back on lost loves and the foolishness of youth. The loves are each depicted in a finely worked engraving by leading engravers from the designs of Edward Thomas Parris (1793-1873) – Louisa, Arabella, Lady Mary, Lady Elmscourt, Lady Emily, and Caroline. “We need not recommend our friends to read this book – they must do so. The playful talents of Lady Blessington are very delightfully exercised ... and all is governed with a refined taste and correct moral sentiment” (The Examiner, 16th October 1836 – concluding a three-page review).
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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 pubished in 1791, and here edited by Augustine Birrell (1850-1833), retaining all the prefatory matter of the earliest editions.
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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 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).
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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 Superintedent of the Manchester C.I.D. in 1897. Reminscences 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.
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CHEYNEY, Peter (Reginald Southouse), 1896-1951 : THE DARK STREET : A NOVEL.
London : Collins, 1944. First edition. An early Cheyney “dark” novel of counter-espionage – the all-wise Quayle, Shaun O’Mara, Ricky Kerr – “The women, of course, dress superbly, move like angels, are as beautiful as diamonds and, with one notable exception, behave abominably”.
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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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“CROMPTON, Richmal” – [LAMBURN, Richmal Crompton, 1890-1969] : WILLIAM – THE FOURTH.
London : George Newnes, (1924). First edition. Fourteen William stories, including “William and Photography”, “William and the Black Cat”, “William the Showman”, “William Enters Politics”, etc.
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CURTIES, Henry, 1860-1928 : WHEN ENGLAND SLEPT.
London : Everett & Co., 1909. First edition. A German invasion by stealth from Captain Curties R.E. – “Vehicles rumbled by with loads of wounded. Before the headquarters of each of the Territorial Battalions, before each bank and each public building, outside Buckingham Palace, stood stolid German sentries. German officers filled the breakfast rooms of the hotels. The Monument was a German look-out post. The guttural tones of the Teuton answered ‘calls’ on the telephone, censored conversations, ‘cut off’ at a second’s notice. The railway stations and the police stations, the telegraph offices and the newspaper offices were in German hands ... London was under martial law, ‘held up’ by two hundred thousand Germans under arms. How had the enemy entered the city? That was the question. None had witnessed their coming. No transports had been sighted. No trains had been commandeered. There was no news of a landing. Curious – and startling! They had materialised, it seemed, out of thin air” (The Sketch, 13th April 1910).
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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”.
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ELIOT, T.S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965 : THE ELDER STATESMAN : A PLAY.
London : Faber & Faber, (1959). First edition. An Eliot play first produced at the Edinburgh Festival in 1958, with Anna Massey, Alec McCowen, etc. – a man of distinction and respect is confronted by his past.
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[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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GAMBA, Pietro, Conte, 1801-1826 : A NARRATIVE OF LORD BYRON’S LAST JOURNEY TO GREECE, EXTRACTED FROM THE JOURNAL OF COUNT PETER GAMBA, WHO ATTENDED HIS LORDSHIP ON THAT EXPEDITION.
London : John Murray, 1825. First edition. A first-hand account of Byron’s ill-fated venture into the Greek War of Independence – compiled from diaries written at the time by Byron’s chief assistant (and the brother of his mistress Teresa Guiccioli) – “one of the most amiable, brave, and excellent young men he had ever encountered”. Regarded as giving the most reliable account of Byron’s last days, Gamba offers no apologies “for being too minute in any details connected with the name of Byron and the cause of Greece”.
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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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“GASH, Jonathan” – [GRANT, John, 1934- ] : SPEND GAME.
London : William Collins Sons & Co. (Crime Club), (1980). First edition. Lovejoy witnesses the murder of a fellow dealer – the dead man had recently bought some “unimportant” items from the estate of a local doctor. One of the more difficult Lovejoy titles to find.
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GISSING, George (George Robert), 1857-1903 : THE TOWN TRAVELLER.
London : Methuen & Co., 1898. First edition. Probably Gissing’s most cheerful and commercially successful novel – instantly compared to Dickens by all the critics – Mr Gammon, the commercial traveller, and Polly Sparkes, the saucy programme-seller – with a dash of mystery and bigamy. “A thoroughly entertaining novel is a rare joy to both readers and reviewers ... to be recommended to all who like an original touch in their fiction, something with a dash of bitter in it, but sound, stimulating and strong” (St James’s Gazette, 1st September 1898).
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GISSING, George (George Robert), 1857-1903 : THE WHIRLPOOL.
London : Lawrence & Bullen, 1897. First edition. Gissing’s much admired novel of marriage, money, morals and music – “ruthlessly tears away the veil of respectability which shrouds the dark deeds of London Society” (Dundee Advertiser, 15th April 1897) – “In a word he gives us life itself” (Daily Chronicle). A novel which still echoes, as a recent review on Goodreads testifies – “My favourite Gissing novel – everything close and bitter to his heart came together in this book”.
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GLANVILLE, Brian (Brian Lester), 1931- : THE ARTIST TYPE.
London : Jonathan Cape, (1967). First edition. “Brian Glanville has a pitiless eye for the frauds and tactics of the sex game” – the “artist type” revenges himself on intellectuals, stockbrokers and slick executives.
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“HAMILTON, Cosmo” – [GIBBS, Henry Charles Hamilton, 1870-1942] : PRISONERS OF HOPE.
London : Hurst & Blackett, . First edition. The playwright and novelist, of whom Dorothy Parker once wrote, “There can no longer be any doubt that it was from Cosmo Hamilton that the cosmic urge derived its name”, with a spicy tale of Tony and Teddy in love with the same woman – Tony successful, Teddy burning with jealousy, man overboard in the South Seas – “There is character in this story; genius in the writing, and artistic richness in the style and setting. A brilliant book ...” (Kensington Post, 5th December 1924). “And there is Lady George Cornish, who was once a barmaid and is still a good sort” (Ralph Straus in The Bystander, 4th March 1925).
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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.
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HARDY, Thomas, 1840-1928 : WINTER WORDS : IN VARIOUS MOODS AND METRES.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1928. First edition. Hardy’s final collection of poetry – 105 poems – the majority previously unpublished. Includes “The Lodging-House Fuchsias”, “To a Tree in London”, “Henley Regatta”, “That Kiss in the Dark”, and “We are Getting to the End”. Although prepared for the press before his death in January 1928, Hardy did not live to see its publication.
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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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HARRIS, Robert (Robert Dennis), 1957- : CONCLAVE.
London : Hutchinson, (2016). First edition. Signed by Robert Harris on the title-page. “Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election”.
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HEMINGWAY, Ernest (Ernest Miller), 1899-1961 : THE SPANISH WAR.
London : Fact, (1938). First edition. Hemingway with eye-witness reportage of the Spanish Civil War – the saving of Madrid; the Aragon Front; Teruel; Franco advancing; final despatches. Published as No. 16 in the “Fact Monograph a Month” series. There would appear to be no equivalent American edition.
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HOUSEHOLD, Geoffrey (Geoffrey Edward West), 1900-1988 : ROGUE MALE.
London : Chatto & Windus, 1939. First edition. Household, “a discriminating hedonist, well versed in the pleasures of the table and the bed” as Michael Barber in ODNB has it, with his most famous and enduring novel – a laconic English sportsman sets out to bag “the biggest game on earth” – a Hitleresque dictator bent on the perversion of civilisation. Nominated at least once as “the best manhunt book in history”. Filmed as “Man Hunt” by Fritz Lang in 1941, with Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders, etc., and again by Clive Donner in 1976, with Peter O’Toole, John Standing, Alastair Sim, Harold Pinter, etc.
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HUGHES, Ted (Edward James), 1930-1998 : THE MERMAID’S PURSE.
London : Faber & Faber, (1999). First trade edition. Twenty-eight poems on the creatures of the sea – “Starfish”, “Whelk”, “Whale”, “Lobster”, etc., with illustrations throughout by Flora McDonnell. First published in a very limited edition by Hughes’ own Sunstone Press in 1993, but here in a revised text and with wholly new illustrations.
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[JAMES, G.P.R. (George Payne Rainsford), 1801-1860] : THE FORGERY : OR, BEST INTENTIONS.
London : Thomas Cautley Newby, 1849 [but 1848]. First edition. A complicated tale of a boy of mysterious parentage, gambling losses, forgery, escape abroad, faked death, exile, false names, trials and the eventual establishment of innocence. “Throughout all his books, we find ourselves in the company of an intelligent, cultivated, good-natured, well-mannered gentleman. This, with his lively mode of putting together incidents so as to give the most commonplace a turn of novelty ... sufficiently account for the audience he has obtained” (The Examiner, 16th December 1848).
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JONES, James (James Ramon), 1921-1977 : FROM HERE TO ETERNITY.
New York : Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1951. First edition. His first and most famous novel, based on his own army experiences in the months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, which he witnessed. An immediate success, winner of the National Book Award, always included in lists of the major novels of the twentieth century, and the basis of the memorable and multiple Oscar-winning 1953 film, with Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra, etc.
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KINGSLEY, Charles, 1819-1875 : HEREWARD THE WAKE, “LAST OF THE ENGLISH”.
London & Cambridge : Macmillan & Co., 1866. First edition. The last novel published by Kingsley, Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge and friend of Darwin. The final resistance against the Norman conquerors – the “splendid barbarian” and folk-hero Hereward of the Fens, son of Leofric, Earl of Mercia and Lady Godiva – and his witch-wife Torfrida, “whose true witchery lay in her intellect, her courage, and her unswerving love” (The Globe, 30th April 1866). “To lovers of the old class of reading wherein the heroic deeds of our forefathers are graphically described, no better volumes could be read” (Cheltenham Chronicle, 10th July 1866).
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LANIER, Henry Wysham, 1873-1958 : THE BOOK OF BRAVERY : BEING TRUE STORIES IN AN ASCENDING SCALE OF COURAGE.
London : Bickers & Son, . First edition : the London issue of the American sheets. Thirty-six tales of inspiring bravery, ancient and modern, grouped under the headings of “Facing Death to Avoid It”, “The Treasure-Seekers”, “Soldiers Who Knew No Fear”, “Some Exploits of the Sea”, and “Famous Deeds of Discipline”, with individual chapter titles such as, “How an Artist Outwitted a Pope”, “A Great Novelist among the Corsairs”, etc.
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LEAR, Edward, 1812-1888 : LAUGHABLE LYRICS : A FOURTH BOOK OF NONSENSE POEMS, SONGS, BOTANY, MUSIC &C.
London : Robert John Bush, 1877. First edition. More inspired nonsense from Edward Lear – with the present collection containing the first appearance of “The Dong with the Luminous Nose”, “The Pobble Who Has No Toes”, “The Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò”, “The Pelican Chorus”, “The Akond of Swat”, etc.
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“LE CARON, Henri” – [BEACH, Thomas Miller, 1841-1894] : TWENTY-FIVE YEARS IN THE SECRET SERVICE : THE RECOLLECTIONS OF A SPY.
London : William Heinemann, 1892. “Fifth edition” – i.e. the fifth impression of the original 1892 edition of this best-selling memoir of the “prince of spies” or “the champion spy of the century”. Working for the British authorities, Le Caron infiltrated Fenian groups in the United States to the extent that he became Lieutenant-Colonel and acting Adjutant-General of the Irish Republican Army. In later life he required round-the-clock protection from Scotland Yard after testifying against Parnell.
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[MARRYAT, Frederick, 1792-1848] : MR. MIDSHIPMAN EASY.
London : Saunders & Otley, 1836. First edition. Marryat’s amiable and abidingly popular tale of the making of a seaman – although as one modern critic has it, “there’s something here to offend almost everyone”. Contemporary critics found it “a work of great power and surpassing beauty, sufficient of itself to have established his reputation as a man of genius” (London Courier, 19th December 1836).
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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.
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MUIR, Augustus (Charles Augustus Carlow), 1892-1989 : THE GREEN LANTERN.
London : Methuen & Co., (1933). First edition. “I promised ... to try to write for your especial delectation a yarn about London – one of those knuckle-duster and thick-ear yarns that you like so much, with a West End hotel of sybaritic splendour, a sinister little riverside tavern run by an unpleasant yellow-faced man with narrow eyes and a benign suavity of manner, and a heroine of Madonna-like beauty, and, of course, missing documents of vital importance. Here you are then ...” – the strangely neglected Muir – somewhere between John Buchan and Peter Cheyney on the spectrum – delivers all this and more in a first-rate thriller.
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NESBO, Jo, 1960- : PHANTOM.
London : Harvill Secker, (2012). First edition in English of “Gjenferd” (2011). Harry Hole is back in Oslo – but his ghosts are catching up with him. “From the moment he steps off the plane, someone is watching his every move and tracing his every call”. Translated by Don Bartlett.
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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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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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PEPPER, John Henry, 1821-1900 : THE PLAYBOOK OF METALS : INCLUDING PERSONAL NARRATIVES OF VISITS TO COAL, LEAD, COPPER, AND TIN MINES ...
London : George Routledge & Sons, [ca.1885]. A fresh edition of Pepper’s extraordinary compilation, first published in 1861. A richly illustrated account, aimed primarily at “youthful readers” – but evidently quite sophisticated ones – of mining and metals. With individual chapters on coal; alchemy; gold; silver; lead; copper; tin; mercury; iron; aluminium; antimony; arsenic; barium; bismuth; cadmium; calcium; cerium; chromium; cobalt; donarium and others; magnesium; manganese; molybdenum; nickel; niobium and others; potassium; platinum; palladium and pelopium; rhodium and ruthenium; sodium; strontium; tantalum, titanium, and others; tungsten; uranium and others; zinc; zirconium, etc.
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“SAPPER” – [McNEILE, Herman Cyril, 1888-1937] : TINY CARTERET.
London : Hodder & Stoughton, . First edition. “Tiny Carteret stretched out a hand like a leg of mutton and picked up the marmalade. On the sideboard what remained of the kidneys and bacon still sizzled cheerfully on the hot plate; by his side a cup of dimensions suitable for a baby’s bath gave forth the fragrant smell of coffee. In short, Tiny Carteret, half-way through his breakfast ...”. Rugby-playing hero ventures forth – sinister organisation based in Switzerland, compromising photographic negative, the honour of a Balkan queen, the happiness of an English duke’s daughter, the security of the state, London night-clubs, Parisian hotels, murder and mayhem – “a story of thrilling adventure and ingenuity the like of which has seldom been written” (Western Mail, 14th August 1930).
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[SEWELL, William, 1804-1874] : HAWKSTONE : A TALE OF AND FOR ENGLAND IN 184-.
London : John Murray, 1845. First edition. A key novel in the whole Tractarian, Young England, Oxford Movement controversies of the times – a lament for the loss of Anglican faith, hostility to the industrial world, profound opposition to Rome and the Jesuits – and yet also a lurid and sensational novel, widely read and hugely popular, especially in the United States. “Hawkstone has the rare merit of being written throughout with more or less of intellectual power. It does not contain a single page in which the evidence of mind is not apparent” (John Bull, 29th March 1845).
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SHAKESPEARE, William, 1564-1616 : THE PICTORIAL EDITION OF THE WORKS OF SHAKSPERE.
London : Charles Knight & Co., [1838-1843]. The first Charles Knight edition. Comprises two volumes each of the comedies, histories and tragedies, as well as the poems, a volume of seventeen doubtful plays sometimes ascribed to Shakespeare (or Shakspere, as Knight insists on having it), together with commendatory verses, a history of critical opinion, material on Shakespeare in Germany, indexes, and a final volume of Knight’s full-length biography. All furnished with introductory notices, notes, variant readings, a glossary, music to the songs, etc. – and profusely illustrated throughout by the leading wood-engravers of the day from the designs of William Harvey (1796-1866) and others. Using the latest technology, Charles Knight (1791-1873) was in the vanguard of bringing the price of books within everyday reach and bringing education and edification in their train with the use of copious illustration – here insisting on illustrations of “the realities upon which the imagination of the poet must have rested ... the localities ... the portraits of the real personages ... accurate costume in all its rich variety”.
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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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STEPHENSON, BLAKE & CO. : [COLLECTION OF PROMOTIONAL LEAFLETS].
Sheffield & London : Stephenson Blake [ca.1960]. A collection of fifteen attractively designed promotional leaflets advertising various type specimens from the long-established Blake Stephenson & Co. Includes “Catch Yourself a ‘Different’ Sans” (Condensed and Grotesque); “The Sun Never Sets on Caslon”; “Still Topping the Bill” (Playbill and Egyptian Expanded); “From Stephenson Blake” (Saxon Black, Bologna, Festival); “The Two Best 20th Century Type Families” (Times and Perpetua); “The Best of the Heavyweights” (Dorio Italic, Wide Sans, Grotesque); “Lots of Weights of Sans” (Light, Narrow, Medium, Grotesque); “Famous Scripts” (Imperial, Marina, Palace, Society, Youthline); “Rich Fruity Latins” (Bold, Wide, Chisel); “Decoration is Timeless” (Fry’s Ornamented, Thorne Shaded, Sans Serif Shaded, Molé Foliate, Old Face, Regalia); “Pen Letters” (Amanda Ronde, Madonna, Mercury, Parisian Ronde, Recherché, Union Pearl); “Carefully We Cultivate the Adonis Family”, etc.
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THACKERAY, W.M. (William Makepeace), 1811-1863 : THE ENGLISH HUMOURISTS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
London : Smith, Elder & Co., 1858. First edition. Thackeray’s perceptive lectures on Swift, Congreve, Addison, Steele, Prior, Gay, Pope, Hogarth, Smollett, Fielding, Sterne and Goldsmith. Also bound in at the front of the present volume is Richard Hannay’s “A Brief Memoir of the Late Mr Thackeray” (Edinburgh : Oliver & Boyd, 1864).
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THORNDIKE, Russell (Arthur Russell), 1885-1972 : DOCTOR SYN : A TALE OF THE ROMNEY MARSH.
London : Robert Holden & Co., (1915 [but 1926]). [Second edition]. The first and most famous of the Doctor Syn novels – the piratical vicar of Dymchurch – rum-running, night-riding and coffins. Thorndike starred in his own touring production of a stage version in the 1920s, produced by his sister – Dame Sybil Thorndike (1882-1976) – who contributes a foreword to the present edition. It was filmed in 1937 with George Arliss, Margaret Lockwood, etc.
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TROLLOPE, Anthony, 1815-1882 : ORLEY FARM.
London : Chapman & Hall, 1862. First edition, in book form, bound up from the original monthly instalments published between March 1861 and October 1862. Wills, codicils, property, family and love – “The plot of ‘Orley Farm’ is probably the best I have ever made ... I do not know that there is a dull page ... especially proud of its illustrations by Millais, which are the best I have seen in any novel in any language” (Trollope).
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TROLLOPE, Anthony, 1815-1882 : THE THREE CLERKS.
London : Richard Bentley, 1858 [but 1857]. First edition. “The best of the new novels. The author has left Barchester Cloisters and now finds his way into the civil service, upon which he has ideas as strong as those he has expressed about ecclesiastical endowments ... unusually good, and the character-painting ... excellent” (The Examiner, 19th December 1857). Trollope regarded it as “certainly the best novel I had as yet written” – notable also for what he regarded as his first successful love scene and the first appearance of Chaffanbrass.
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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.
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WELLS, H.G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946 : THE HISTORY OF MR. POLLY.
London : Thomas Nelson & Sons, (1910). First edition : the first issue with the advertisement for John Masefield’s “Trepanned” – a quirky title subsequently discarded before publication. “What could be more human or more humorous than Mr Polly as haberdasher’s apprentice, haberdasher incendiary, and tramp” (Montrose Standard, 13th May 1910) – “He hated Foxbourne, he hated Foxbourne High Street, he hated his shop and his wife and his neighbours – every blessed neighbour – and with indescribable bitterness he hated himself”. High comedy in the drapery trade – Wells wouldn’t quite concede that this was his best book, but “certainly it is his happiest book, and the one he cares for the most”.
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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.
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WODEHOUSE, P.G. (Sir Pelham Grenville), 1881-1975 : ICE IN THE BEDROOM.
London : Herbert Jenkins, (1961). First British edition : in the primary binding, lettered in gilt, and in the primary dust-jacket, the principal lettering in yellow and white. Freddie Widgeon is in the chips, or thinks he is – kindly American Thomas (a.k.a. Soapy) G. Molloy has given him a hot financial tip. Mainly set in “South London Argus” territory. First published in New York earlier in 1961.
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WODEHOUSE, P.G. (Sir Pelham Grenville), 1881-1975 : STIFF UPPER LIP, JEEVES.
London : Herbert Jenkins, (1963). First British edition. “It was the instinct of self-preservation transcending better judgement and personal inclination that sent Bertie Wooster hot foot to Totleigh Towers ...” – Jeeves, Wooster, Gussie Fink-Nottle, and Madeline Bassett – “moulder of men”.
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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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