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ARLEN, Michael, 1895-1956 : THE GREEN HAT : A ROMANCE FOR A FEW PEOPLE.
London : W. Collins Sons & Co., (1924). First edition. “Acclaimed, attacked, parodied, and read, to the most fabulous degree of best-sellerdom ... a romance suited to its decade – cynical, sophisticated, yet sentimental, highly coloured, and glittering ... the book certainly cast a spell in its day and influenced many young writers. The character of the heroine, Iris Storm, set a new fashion in fatal charmers; and Arlen’s pictures of London café society were as exact as glossy photographs” (ODNB). Filmed both in 1928 and in 1934 – as “A Woman of Affairs” (with Greta Garbo) and “Outcast Lady” (with Constance Bennett) respectively.
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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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BATES, H.E. (Herbert Ernest), 1905-1974 : THE STORY WITHOUT AN END AND THE COUNTRY DOCTOR.
London : White Owl Press, 1932. First edition : one of 100 copies (of 130) numbered and signed by H. E. Bates. Two short stories, the first set in a London restaurant.
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BEERBOHM, Max (Sir Henry Maximilian), 1872-1956 : ZULEIKA DOBSON : OR AN OXFORD LOVE STORY.
London : William Heinemann, 1911. First edition : the variant binding in smooth brown cloth, the spine lettered in upper and lower case. Just 2,150 copies were issued in this form, the remainder being put in a more robust library binding. “A diaphanous novel possessed of a delayed explosive charge that detonates today with surprising power ... the finest, and darkest, kind of satire: as intoxicating as champagne, as addictive as morphine, and as lethal as prussic acid” (Robert McCrum) – “Mr Beerbohm in his way is perfect” (Virginia Woolf).
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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 REGENT : A FIVE TOWNS STORY OF ADVENTURE IN LONDON.
London : Methuen & Co., (1913). First edition. The further adventures of “The Card” – Edward Henry Machin stumbles into theatrical management in London and pursues Isabel Joy, the suffragette, to appear in his play. “There is no one in contemporary fiction so immense as Edward Henry Machin. He never wearies, because he always surprises and because Mr. Arnold Bennett never once errs in his presentation of him. ‘The Regent’ is as good, if not better, than ‘The Card’ and that is, indeed, saying a great deal” (The Globe, 12th September 1913).
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BETJEMAN, John (Sir John), 1906-1984 : FIRST AND LAST LOVES.
London : John Murray, (1952). First edition. Betjeman on Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Cheltenham, Leeds, London Railway Stations, the Isle of Man, Padstow, Sidmouth, Weymouth, the Isle of Wight, and many other places, as well as on Nonconformist Architecture, Victorian Architecture. Numerous illustrations – many by John Piper.
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BOX, Charles, 1806-1890 : THE ENGLISH GAME OF CRICKET: COMPRISING A DIGEST OF ITS ORIGIN, CHARACTER, HISTORY, AND PROGRESS, TOGETHER WITH AN EXPOSITION OF ITS LAWS AND LANGUAGE.
London : “The Field”, 1877. First edition. A presentation copy, inscribed, signed and dated (30th June 1877) by the author to Samuel Hoare (1841-1915), later Sir Samuel Hoare M.P., Harrow and Trinity (Cambridge), banker, parliamentarian and keen amateur cricketer with the Quidnuncs. One of the monuments of cricket literature – a highly influential account which in attempting to define, perhaps for the first time, the quintessential Englishness of cricket, contrived to make it not just a game, but a lasting repository of high-minded Victorian ideals and the ultimate sporting extension of a deeply-imbued sense of national identity. Box takes in turn the origins of ball-games; the Dark and Middle Ages; progress and development; rising popularity; the moral, social and physical attributes; chapters on each of the major counties; the public schools; the eastern counties; intercolonial matches (in North America and Australia); school and village cricket; curiosities; the grounds; the laws; the poems, songs and ballads; a glossary, and a postscript on Shakespeare and cricket.
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“CAPELLI, Ace” : DEAD ON TIME.
London : Ralph Stokes for the Gaywood Press, [ca.1952]. First edition. “I was a construction gang foreman, not a private eye or a cop. I’ll admit that my one taste of hoodlums some weeks ago had whetted my appetite for the detecting racket ...” – Ace Capelli was a house name used variously by Geoffrey Pardoe, Stephen Frances (Hank Janson) and Norman Lazenby. Although over thirty Capelli titles are known, only fourteen or so are represented in major collections.
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DICKENS, Charles (Charles John Huffam), 1812-1870 : PICTURES FROM ITALY.
London : for the Author, by Bradbury & Evans, 1846. First edition. With Dickens to Italy via Lyons and Avignon – Genoa, Parma, Modena, Bologna, Ferrara, Verona, Mantua, Milan, Rome via Pisa and Siena, Naples, Pompeii, and Florence. With charming illustrations by Samuel Palmer (1805-1881).
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“DELLA, Lew” – [DAWSON, George Herbert, 1916-1980] : LIFE IS SHORT.
London : Milestone Publications, (1953). First edition. The headlines ran “Nude Dame Snatched from Bath”, “Socialite Disappears”, “Dresses at Point of a Gun”, “Bandit Hands her Scanties”, “It was Awful says Maid”.
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[DOUGLAS, Norman (George Norman), 1868-1952] – “NORMYX” : UNPROFESSIONAL TALES.
London : T. Fisher Unwin, 1901. First edition. Beyond the early pamphlets and offprints, Douglas’s first book and his first venture into fiction. He later claimed that just eight copies were sold – a slight exageration, but close on 600 copies of the original 750 were still unsold in 1903 and almost certainly pulped. Contains fifteen short stories (including “Elfwater”, “Nocturne”, “The Devil’s Oak”, and “Belladona”) as well as the fantasy femme fatale novella “Nerinda”, most of the former written in collaboration with his then wife, Elsa Fitzgibbon (1876-1916).
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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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FAULKS, Sebastian, 1953- : THE GIRL AT THE LION D’OR.
London : Hutchinson, (1989). First edition. His second novel and the one which made his reputation – a slight, dark-haired girl with two heavy suitcases arrives in the small French town of Janvilliers in 1936 to become a waitress at a seedy hotel. “Like the great novels and stories of Flaubert and Maupassant ... quite out of the ordinary ... beautifully written and in the end extraordinarily moving” (Sunday Times).
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FRY, Herbert, 1830-1885 : LONDON (THE COMPLETE GUIDE).
London : Love & Malcomson, . The forty-fourth edition of Fry’s perennially popular guide, published more or less annually from 1880, but here completely revised and updated, while retaining its defining feature – the splendid bird’s-eye views of the principal thoroughfares designed by Thomas Sulman (1832-1900) and George William Ruffle (1838-1901).
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GRANT, James, 1802-1879 : SKETCHES IN LONDON.
London : W. S. Orr & Co., 1838. First edition. A compelling view of the “Modern Babylon” from the journalist James Grant – “Everything the Author has described, has either come under his own observation, or been verbally communicated to him by friends who were cognizant of the facts stated, and in whose veracity he could place the utmost reliance”. With chapters on begging imposters, debtors’ prisons, the lumber troop, parliament, penny theatres, workhouses, lunatic asylums, Bartholomew and Greenwich fairs, gaming houses and gamblers, the police, and other aspects of the underworld of the metropolis. Published in instalments at just the same time as “Oliver Twist” was being serialised, the work provides an interesting factual counterpart and companion to the Dickens novel, not least in that the young Hablot Knight Browne (“Phiz”) was responsible for the bulk of the illustrations.
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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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HEANEY, Seamus, 1939-2013 : STATION ISLAND.
London : Faber & Faber, (1984). First edition. One of the most celebrated collections of poems of modern times – over forty poems from Heaney at the height of his powers. “Many of these poems have a tough rind as though the author knew for his purposes deferred comprehension was better than instant. Obliquity suits him. Heaney’s talent, a prodigious one, is exfoliating and augmenting here” (Richard Ellman).
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HERBERT, George, 1593-1633 : THE WORKS OF GEORGE HERBERT IN PROSE AND VERSE.
London : William Pickering, 1853. A handsomely produced edition of one of the earliest collected works of the Sweet Singer of the Temple, printed at the Chiswick Press and here in a highly attractive binding by Roger de Coverley & Sons. Originally published in 1835-1836 and including all the extant poems, letters, etc., then known, with lives of Herbert by Izaak Walton and Barnabas Oley, notes by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, etc.
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HOLMES, Michael, 1931- : THE COUNTRY HOUSE DESCRIBED : AN INDEX TO THE COUNTRY HOUSES OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND.
Winchester : St. Paul’s Bibliographies, in association with the Victoria & Albert Museum, (1986). First edition. An alphabetical listing of more than 4,000 country houses, with full listings of the literature relating to them culled from books and magazines. With illustrations and a bibliography.
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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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JEFFERIES, Richard (John Richard), 1848-1887 : BEVIS : THE STORY OF A BOY.
London : Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1882. First edition : in the variant green (a) binding – Miller & Matthews (B15) make a persuasive case for regarding these slightly taller copies in green as having appeared earlier than the regular copies in brown. Jefferies and his haunting evocation of a Wiltshire childhood – “where there was magic in everything, blades of grass and stars, the sun and the stones upon the ground”.
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JONES, Barbara (Barbara Mildred), 1912-1978 : DESIGN FOR DEATH.
London : André Deutsch, (1967). First edition. An extraordinary study – part grim, part comic – of the “beautiful, vulgar, frightening and propitiatory things that people make when confronted by that shocking and unwelcome reminder, the death of another”. With chapters on the corpse; the shroud; the coffin; the hearse; the floral tributes; printing and the word; the procession; the cemetery and the crematorium; the tomb; relics and mementoes, etc.
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JONSON, Ben (Benjamin), 1572-1637 : POEMS.
London : Oxford University Press, 1975. First edition of this authoritative Oxford Standard Authors text, edited and introduced by Professor Ian Donaldson. Includes the Epigrams, The Forest, The Underwood, Ungathered Verse, Songs and Poems from the Plays and Masques, Leges Convivales, Dubia, etc.
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LEVER, Charles (Charles James), 1806-1872 : ST. PATRICK’S EVE.
London : Chapman & Hall, 1845. First edition : in the more elaborate and earliest binding. Clearly modelled on Dickens’ treatment of social issues in his Christmas books, Lever tackles the Irish issue of absentee landlords – “a very pretty little volume ... dedicated to his children with a desire to inculcate this truth, ‘that prosperity has as many duties as adversity has sorrows’ ... painted with his customary force of genius and his usual glowing and effective colouring” (Liverpool Mail, 29th March 1845).
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MASEFIELD, John (John Edward), 1878-1967 : THE MIDNIGHT FOLK : A NOVEL.
London : William Heinemann, (1927). First edition. Kay Harker seeks the stolen fortune of his sea-faring great-grandfather – a celebrated fantasy novel for children.
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MAUGHAM, W. Somerset (William Somerset), 1874-1965 : THE CASUARINA TREE : SIX STORIES.
London : William Heinemann, (1926). First edition. Six short stories set in the Far East – “Before the Party”, “P. & O.”, “The Outstation”, “The Force of Circumstance”, “The Yellow Streak”, and “The Letter”, together with an introduction and a postscript. One of Maugham’s finest collections, notable in particular for “The Letter”, adapted for the stage by Maugham himself and the basis of the famous Academy Award winning William Wyler 1940 film, starring Bette Davis.
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MITCHELL, Gladys (Gladys Maude Winifred), 1901-1983 : THE NODDING CANARIES.
London : Michael Joseph, (1961). First edition. A review copy, with the publisher’s slip loosely inserted – and from the library of the crime writer, reviewer and broadcaster “Anthony Lejeune” (1928-2018). Dame Beatrice is called on by a school-mistress friend to extricate her from the possibility of an attempted murder charge – and then there’s a corpse – “a combination of murder, archaeology and games mistresses” (Illustrated London News, 2nd September 1961).
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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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“OLIVER, Stephen” – [CHATTO, William Andrew, 1799-1864] : SCENES AND RECOLLECTIONS OF FLY-FISHING, IN NORTHUMBERLAND, CUMBERLAND, AND WESTMORLAND.
London : Chapman & Hall, 1834. First edition. “A bottle of Reading sauce, a box of ‘peptic pills’, and a portable frying-pan ought to form part of every angler’s travelling equipage”. Fly-fishing in Coquetdale, Glendale and the Northern Hills, together with an appendix – “a well-written review of the older angling literature” (Westwood & Satchell), as well as a list of trout streams all across the north of England and the Borders. Father of the publisher, Chatto was also the editor of “The New Sporting Magazine” – “must have a place in every library” (Blackwood’s Magazine).
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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 can no longer be wholly regarded as fiction.
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RICHARDS, J.M. (Sir James Maude), 1907-1992 : THE CASTLES ON THE GROUND.
London : Architectural Press, (1946). First edition. “Ewbank’d inside and Atco’d out, the English suburban residence and the garden which is an integral part of it stand trim and lovingly cared for in the mild sunshine ... ” – Richards’ faultless homage to and defence of suburbia, written while he was serving overseas. If not regarded as a minor classic, then it should be. Illustrated with memorable two-colour lithographs by John Piper.
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SCHIMANSKI, Stefan, -1950 & TREECE, Henry, 1911-1966 – editors : A MAP OF HEARTS.
London : Lindsay Drummond, . First edition. A collection of twenty-one wartime short stories – from Mulk Raj Anand (Lottery), John Heath-Stubbs (That on Parched Mountains), J. F. Hendry (The Catacomb of Love), Rayner Heppenstall (The Bird has Flown), Inez Holden (To-day at the Bureaucracy), Gwyn Jones (Take us the Little Foxes), Mary Lavin (The Statue in the Grounds), John Pudney (The City of Copious Libations), Alan Ross (Pain), William Sansom (From the Water Junction) and others, including the two editors themselves. With biographical notes on the contributors.
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[THACKERAY, W.M. (William Makepeace), 1811-1863] – “PENDENNIS, Arthur – editor” : THE NEWCOMES. MEMOIRS OF A MOST RESPECTABLE FAMILY.
London : Bradbury & Evans, 1855. First edition. Set in the decades following on from “Vanity Fair” (and reintroducing some of the characters in peripheral roles), Thackeray gives his most complete exploration of character, wealth, marriage and religion. “One of the few immortal novels ... As a novel of English upper and middle class life, it remains without a rival” (Helen Rex Keller).
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WODEHOUSE, P.G. (Sir Pelham Grenville), 1881-1975 : COCKTAIL TIME.
London : Herbert Jenkins, (1958). First edition. Uncle Fred knocks Sir Raymond Bastable’s hat off with a brazil nut fired by catapult from the Drones Club. The third Uncle Fred novel – meddling, blackmail, scandal, and a pseudonymous and much-disowned novel called “Cocktail Time” – with Pongo Twistleton, Beefy Bastable, publishers, agents, etc.
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WODEHOUSE, P.G. (Sir Pelham Grenville), 1881-1975 : THE INIMITABLE JEEVES.
London : Herbert Jenkins, 1923. First edition : the second issue, listing eleven titles on the verso of the half-title. The second “Jeeves” title – “Jeeves Exerts the Old Cerebellum”, “Aunt Agatha Speaks Her Mind”, “The Great Sermon Handicap”, and fifteen further Jeeves and Wooster short stories (introducing Bingo Little for the first time).
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