BIOGRAPHIES AT ASH RARE BOOKS
BIOGRAPHIES & AUTOBIOGRAPHIES
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BALLANTYNE, R.M. (Robert Michael), 1825-1894 : AN AUTHOR’S ADVENTURES OR PERSONAL REMINISCENCES IN BOOK-MAKING.
London : James Nisbet & Co., [ca.1905]. A reprint of the 1893 “Personal Reminiscences in Book-Making” under a slightly livelier title, and with a galleon in full sail on the cover rather than the the original small boat.
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BAMFORD, Samuel, 1788-1872 : PASSAGES IN THE LIFE OF A RADICAL.
London : MacGibbon & Kee, (1967). Originally published serially in Manchester in the early 1840s and here in a slightly shortened modern edition – one of the most important documents of nineteenth-century radicalism, covering the turbulent years either side of the Peterloo massacre, in the aftermath of which the highly articulate Bamford, both weaver and poet, was charged with treason and wrongly convicted of inciting a riot – “it is a voice that England cannot afford even now to shut its ears to”. With a preface by Tim Hilton.
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BENKOVITZ, Miriam J. (Miriam Jeanette), 1911-1986 : RONALD FIRBANK : A BIOGRAPHY.
London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, (1970). First British edition. The first full-scale biography of the author of those “gossamer novels of scintillating nonsense”.
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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.
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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CHALMERS, Patrick R. (Patrick Reginald), 1872-1942 : KENNETH GRAHAME : LIFE, LETTERS AND UNPUBLISHED WORK.
London : Methuen & Co., 1933. First edition. A full-scale life of Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932), including a number of previously unpublished essays and poems, material on the genesis of Wind in the Willows, the Bank of England years, etc.
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CHAMBERS, William, 1800-1883 : STORY OF A LONG AND BUSY LIFE.
Edinburgh & London : W. & R. Chambers, 1882. First edition. The autobiography of the distinguished Scottish publisher William Chambers, partner with his brother Robert in “W. & R. Chambers”, founder of “Chambers’s Journal”, “Chambers’s Encyopaedia”, etc. Contains material on many of the leading writers and public figures of the day.
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[CHAPMAN, Stanley David, 1935- ] : N. M. ROTHSCHILD 1777-1836.
[London : N. M. Rothschild & Sons,] 1977. First edition. A privately printed monograph to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Nathan Mayer Rothschild – the first of the English Rothschilds. An essay by Chapman concentrating on Rothschild’s early career in England as a textile merchant, 1799-1811.
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CHATTERTON, E. Keble (Edward Keble), 1878-1944 : CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH.
London : John Lane, The Bodley Head, (1927). First edition. An elegant life of John Smith of Virginia (1580?-1631), soldier, explorer, admiral, colonial governor, and bestower of the name “New England” – rescue by Pocahontas and all the rest. In the “Golden Hind” series.
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CLARE, John, 1793-1864 : JOHN CLARE’S AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL WRITINGS.
Oxford / New York : Oxford University Press, 1983. First edition. Extensive selections from Clare’s scattered autobiographical writings. Edited by Eric Robinson. Illustrated with wood engravings by John Lawrence.
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CLIFFORD, James L. (James Lowry), 1901-1978 : DICTIONARY JOHNSON : SAMUEL JOHNSON’S MIDDLE YEARS.
London : William Heinemann, (1980). First British edition. Dr. Johnson in the years of the Dictionary, The Idler, Rasselas, etc.
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COCHRANE, J.A. (James Aikman), 1919-2015 : DR. JOHNSON’S PRINTER : THE LIFE OF WILLIAM STRAHAN.
London : Routledge & Kegan Paul, (1964). First edition. A life of the celebrated eighteenth-century printer, William Strahan (1715-1785), compiled by the war-hero and publisher J. A. “Peter” Cochrane.
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COOKE, George Wingrove, 1814-1865 : MEMOIRS OF LORD BOLINGBROKE.
London : Richard Bentley, 1835. First edition. The first full-scale biography of the “Man of Mercury” – Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke (1678-1751) – politician, exile, writer, historian, philosopher, libertine and wit – a figure, in the author’s phrase, too long “sedulously erased” from the history books. Included as appendices are Bolingbroke’s poems, the articles of impeachment, his will, etc.
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“COOPER, William” – [HOFF, Harry Summerfield, 1910-2002] : FROM EARLY LIFE.
London : Macmillan London, (1990). First edition. “Written in the rinsed-pebble prose of an outstanding man of letters” – the early reminiscences of the author of “Scenes from Provincial Life”.
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CROFT-COOKE, Rupert, 1903-1979 : THE LAST OF SPRING.
London : Putnam & Co., 1964. First edition. An autobiographical account of Croft-Cooke in his twenties, with interesting material on his time dealing in rare books and first editions with a shop in Rochester, the publication of his earliest novels, journeys abroad, and incidental material on other writers, including Lord Alfred Douglas, Dorothy Richardson, Louis Golding, etc.
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CZERNIAWSKI, Adam, 1934- : SCENES FROM A DISTURBED CHILDHOOD.
London : Serpent’s Tail, (1991). First edition. Inscribed, signed and dated (1991) by Adam Czerniawski. Memoirs of an extraordinary childhood – Poland, escape to the Middle East, and then to England.
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DARK, Sidney, 1874-1947 & GREY, Rowland : W. S. GILBERT : HIS LIFE AND LETTERS.
London : Methuen & Co., (1923). First edition. A thorough and handsome biography of Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911).
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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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DAVIES, W.H. (William Henry), 1871-1940 : NATURE.
London : B. T. Batsford, (1914). First edition. An autobiographical essay, interspersed with some poems. In the Fellowship Books series.
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DAY LEWIS, C. (Cecil), 1904-1972 : THE BURIED DAY.
London : Chatto & Windus, 1960. First edition. Autobiography of the poet and (as Nicholas Blake) crime-writer.
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DEVONSHIRE, Deborah Vivien Cavendish, Duchess of, 1920-2014 : HOME TO ROOST AND OTHER PECKINGS.
London : John Murray, (2009). First edition. Signed by Debo Devonshire, the last of the Mitford Sisters, on the title-page. Vignettes and reminiscences, funny, shrewd and moving – both at J. F. Kennedy’s inauguration and at his funeral, at the local post office, the 1938 London season, the Farmers’ Club dinner, book signings, tiaras, auction catalogues, motorways, deportment, Christmas at Chatsworth, shopping as your eyesight begins to fade, and much more. Edited by Charlotte Mosley and with an amusing and affectionate introduction by Alan Bennett, who has also signed the title-page.
EDWARDS, Ruth Dudley, 1944- : VICTOR GOLLANCZ : A BIOGRAPHY.
London : Victor Gollancz, 1987. First edition. A weighty biography of one of the most influential publishers and public campaigners of the twentieth century, Victor Gollancz (1893-1967) – “I hate everything that is pro and anti (different peoples). I am only one thing: I am pro-humanity”. With much passing reference to Clement Attlee, Violet Bonham Carter, Winston Churchill, Communism, Daphne du Maurier, Adolf Hitler, the Labour Party, Harold Laski, the Left Book Club, Stanley Morison, George Orwell, Frank Pakenham, etc.
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FRAYN, Michael, 1933- : MY FATHER’S FORTUNE : A LIFE.
London : Faber & Faber, (2010). First edition. Frayn’s poignant, haunting, funny and deeply moving quest for the truth about his father, his mother, and his own suburban childhood.
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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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GASKELL, E.C. (Elizabeth Cleghorn), 1810-1865 : THE LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTË, AUTHOR OF “JANE EYRE”, “SHIRLEY”, “VILLETTE”, &C.
London : Smith, Elder & Co., 1857. First edition. A delightfully extra-illustrated and beautifully bound copy of this still controversial biography of Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) – “revolution as well as revelation” in Margaret Oliphant’s phrase. Unsold copies were withdrawn in the face of a storm of legal threat and hostility. Extra-illustrated by the insertion of forty additional plates, portraits and views, a number hand-coloured, as are the original frontispiece portrait and view of Haworth.
GRAVES, Charles L. (Charles Larcom), 1856-1944 : THE LIFE AND LETTERS OF ALEXANDER MACMILLAN.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1910. First edition. A life of Alexander Macmillan (1818-1896) of the famed publishing house, with passing reference to Thomas Carlyle, Mrs Craik, W. E. Gladstone, Thomas Hughes, Charles Kingsley, Daniel Macmillan, Lord Tennyson, and many of the great and good, etc.
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HALL, Duncan : THE PRIEST OF THE LEGION.
London : Peter Lunn, 1947. First edition. A study of Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916) – among the Tuaregs, etc. Illustrated by William Stobbs.
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HAMILTON, Mark : RARE SPIRIT : A LIFE OF WILLIAM DE MORGAN 1839-1911 [i.e. 1839-1917].
London : Constable & Co., (1997). First edition. A life of William Frend de Morgan, his ceramic work at Chelsea, Merton Abbey and Sands End, the novels, friendship with William Morris and Burne-Jones, etc. The dust-jacket corrects the erroneous biographical dates of the title-page.
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HAMMOND, J. L. (John Lawrence), 1872-1949 : C. P. SCOTT OF THE MANCHESTER GUARDIAN.
London : G. Bell & Sons, 1934. First edition. A presentation copy, inscribed to Samuel Telley, signed and dated (1934) by John Hammond. A full-scale biography of the legendary journalist Charles Prestwich Scott (1846-1932), with specific chapters on women’s suffrage, Ireland, the Great War, etc.
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HARDWICK, Michael, 1925-1991 : A LITERARY ATLAS & GAZETTEER OF THE BRITISH ISLES.
Newton Abbot : David & Charles, (1973). First edition. An absorbing guide, arranged by county and town, tabulating who lived and died where.
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HARRIS, Frank, 1856-1931 : OSCAR WILDE : HIS LIFE AND CONFESSIONS.
New York : Printed & Published by the Author, 1916. First edition. “I was advised on all hands not to write this book, and some English friends who have read it urge me not to publish it” – Harris’s controversial life of Wilde, reprinted in New York in a trade edition later in 1916, with an apologia by George Bernard Shaw, but not published in the United Kingdom until 1938. A presentation copy, inscribed “To Maud Allan from her friend, the author”, signed in full by Frank Harris, and dated September 1916. Maud Allan (1873-1956) was the internationally famous dancer, best-known for her depiction of Salome and the Dance of the Seven Veils, which took London by storm in 1908. Still headlining at the London Pavilion in 1918, she was invited to take the lead in two private performances of Wilde’s still-banned “Salome”. The announcement led to an astounding newspaper piece headed “The Cult of the Clitoris”, which in turn led to a sensational and still controversial Old Bailey libel trial – a trial which spiralled out of control with the accusation that members of the British establishment – not least the trial judge himself – were sexual deviants being blackmailed by Germany to undermine the war effort. The trial, interfered with behind the scenes by both politicians and generals, featured the flamboyant and outspoken aviator and maverick M.P. Noel Pemberton Billing, as well as Wilde’s former lovers and now sworn enemies, Bosie and Robbie Ross – the long-dead Wilde was essentially on trial all over again – and a number of increasingly bizarre witnesses. Allan herself was rumoured to be both the mistress of the late king and the lesbian lover of Margot Asquith, wife of the prime minister at the outbreak of war. Her connection with Harris dated back to his tribute to her in a portfolio titled “The Revival of Classical Dancing : Maud Allan and Her Art” (1908). She is the subject of at least five books – Michael Kettle, “Salome’s Last Veil : The Libel Case of the Century” (1977); Felix Cherniavsky, “The Salome Dancer” (1991); Philip Hoare, “Wilde’s Last Stand” (1997); Russell James, “The Maud Allan Affair” (2008); and Wendy Buonaventura, “Dark Venus : Maud Allan and the Myth of the Femme Fatale” (2018).
HOLROYD, Michael (Sir Michael de Courcy Fraser), 1935- : BERNARD SHAW.
London : Chatto & Windus, (1988-1992). A complete first edition set of this magisterial biography of George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) – the individual volumes sub-titled “The Search for Love : 1856-1898”, “The Pursuit of Power : 1898-1918”, “The Lure of Fantasy : 1918-1950” and “The Shaw Companion” – the last comprising “The Last Laugh : 1950-1992”, as well as the appendices, complete notes, a cumulative index, etc.
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HORWITZ, Sylvia L. (Sylvia Laibman), 1912-1995 : THE FIND OF A LIFETIME : SIR ARTHUR EVANS AND THE DISCOVERY OF KNOSSOS.
London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, (1981). First British edition. A biography of the extraordinary and "very odd" archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans (1851-1941).
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JERROLD, Walter (Walter Copeland), 1865-1929 : DOUGLAS JERROLD AND ‘PUNCH’.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1910. First edition. A full-length account of the writer, playwright and wit Douglas Jerrold (1803-1857) and his distinctive voice in the emergence of “Punch” as a national institution. Also includes four of Jerrold’s longer pieces for “Punch” – “Capsicum House for Young Ladies”, “The Life and Adventures of Miss Robinson Crusoe”, “Our Honeymoon” and “Exhibition of the English in China”, as well as a full listing of all his anonymous or pseudonymous contributions to the magazine.
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JOHNSON, Diane, 1934- : THE LIFE OF DASHIELL HAMMETT.
London : Chatto & Windus / Hogarth Press, (1984). First British edition. A full-length and definitive life and study of Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961).
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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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“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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McINTYRE, Ian, 1931-2014 : HESTER : THE REMARKABLE LIFE OF DR. JOHNSON’S ‘DEAR MISTRESS’.
London : Constable, (2008). First edition. Hester Thrale (1741-1821) of Streatham Park, Johnson’s favourite, but to Boswell “a little artful impudent malignant devil” – “I have read Ian McIntyre’s ‘Hester’ with sustained pleasure at its calm narrative nicely spiced with the hot stuff of Mrs Thrale’s ups and downs ... the clever accumulation of detail; the spirit of adventure in Georgian life, and its breadth of cultured reading, suggests an England at once more rugged and more cultured than today’s” (Frederic Raphael).
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MACLAREN-ROSS, Julian (James), 1912-1964 : MEMOIRS OF THE FORTIES.
London : Alan Ross, 1965. First edition. Recollections of “Fitzrovian Nights” – and of Francis Bacon, Cyril Connolly, Graham Greene, Nina Hamnett, Alun Lewis, John Minton, Elizabeth Smart, Stevie Smith, Tambimuttu, Dylan Thomas, Ruthven Todd, Woodrow Wyatt, and many more – together with six of the best of the Maclaren-Ross short stories of the period, including “I Had to Go Sick” and “A Bit of a Smash in Madras”.
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MASSINGHAM, H.J. (Harold John), 1888-1952 & MASSINGHAM, Hugh, 1905-1971 – editors : THE GREAT VICTORIANS.
London : Ivor Nicholson & Watson, . First edition. Essays by various well-chosen hands on forty Victorians – including Edmund Blunden on Matthew Arnold, Rebecca West on Charlotte Bronte, G. K. Chesterton on Charles Dickens, Neville Cardus on W. G. Grace, Laurence Housman on Florence Nightingale, Hugh Walpole on Anthony Trollope, etc.
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MILLER, Henry (Henry Valentine), 1891-1980 : MY LIFE AND TIMES.
New York : Gemini Smith / Playboy Press, (1971). First edition. The richly illustrated life and times of a much-banned author — writing, painting, California, Paris, childhood — “Today’s naked generation has learned nearly everything from him — everything, that is to say, except his bookishness, his capacity for recapturing innocence, his sense of wonder, his sense of words ... Miller talking his life instead of writing it (he has written it already) ... Durrell thinks that Miller’s lifework is the best confessional writing since Rousseau. He is probably right” (Anthony Burgess in the New York Times, 2nd January 1972).
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MILNE, James, 1865-1951 : THE MEMOIRS OF A BOOKMAN.
London : John Murray, (1934). First edition. Inscribed, signed and dated (1934) by James Milne. Reminiscences of the journalist and novelist, literary editor of the “News Chronicle” and founder in 1903 of “Book Monthly”. Includes mention of Edward Clodd, Thomas Hardy, George Meredith, R. L. Stevenson, Alfred Tennyson, H. G. Wells, etc.
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MONTGOMERIE, H.S. (Hastings Seton), 1872-1949 : WILLIAM BLIGH OF THE “BOUNTY” IN FACT AND IN FABLE.
London : Williams & Norgate, (1937). First edition. A full-length life and an important reappraisal of this still controversial figure, with Montgomerie’s zealous research revealing Bligh as “a precisian rather than a martinet”, as well as an outstanding navigator and seaman – “one of the mysteries of history, but when lions die the jackals gather” (The Era, 15th April 1937).
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MORRIS, Sally & HALLWOOD, Jan : LIVING WITH EAGLES : MARCUS MORRIS, PRIEST AND PUBLISHER.
Cambridge : Lutterworth Press, (1998). First edition. A biography (by two of his daughters) of the colourful Marcus Morris (1915-1989), founder of the “Eagle” and its sister papers, “Girl”, “Swift” and “Robin”, with much on the artists and writers and on the publishing conditions of the mid twentieth century. With a foreword by Sir Tim Rice.
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NELSON, James G., 1929-2015 : PUBLISHER TO THE DECADENTS : LEONARD SMITHERS IN THE CAREERS OF BEARDSLEY, WILDE, DOWSON ...
High Wycombe : Rivendale Press, (2000). First British edition. The turbulent life of Leonard Smithers (1861-1907) – publisher not only to Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, Ernest Dowson and Arthur Symons, but also to Sir Richard Burton. With appendices on Smithers and the erotic book trade; his rare book catalogues, etc., and a checklist of his publications.
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NICOLSON, Alexander, 1827-1893 – editor : MEMOIRS OF ADAM BLACK.
Edinburgh : Adam & Charles Black, 1885. First edition. A life of the famous Edinburgh publisher Adam Black (1784-1874), worked up by Nicolson from autobiographical material left by Black himself. The present copy was presented to the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution by Black’s son, Charles Bertram Black, in the year of publication.
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OLIPHANT, Mrs (Margaret Oliphant Wilson), 1828-1897 : AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND LETTERS OF MRS MARGARET OLIPHANT.
Leicester : Leicester University Press, 1974. A photographic reprint of the original 1899 edition, here edited by Mrs Harry Coghill for the Victorian Library series, and furnished with an introduction, notes on persons mentioned, and an index by Q. D. Leavis, who sums up Mrs Oliphant thus – “a massive contributor to the novel of several kinds, the short story, the biography, to the reviewing and critical essays in many Victorian periodicals, as well as a maker of solid books of non-fiction ... in sum important as a case-history of the woman of letters in the nineteenth century”.
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PUGH, John : REMARKABLE OCCURRENCES IN THE LIFE OF JONAS HANWAY, ESQ. COMPREHENDING AN ABSTRACT OF SUCH PARTS OF HIS TRAVELS IN RUSSIA, AND PERSIA, AS ARE THE MOST INTERESTING; A SHORT HISTORY OF THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE CHARITABLE AND POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS FOUNDED OR SUPPORTED BY HIM ...
London : for the Author, by J. Davis, 1787. First edition. The essential source for the life of the remarkable Jonas Hanway (1712-1786), merchant and philanthropist. Actively engaged in the Russia trade, and here, there, and everywhere in the pursuit of good causes, his 1767 Act of Parliament (Hanway’s Act) is regarded as “the only piece of eighteenth-century legislation dealing with the poor which was an unqualified success”. John Pugh had been Hanway’s secretary for a number of years.
QUAYLE, Eric (Eric Stanley), 1921-2001 : BALLANTYNE THE BRAVE : A VICTORIAN WRITER AND HIS FAMILY.
London : Rupert Hart-Davis, 1967. First edition. The biography of Robert Michael Ballantyne (1825-1894), the author of "Coral Island", etc. – a complex man who went to extraordinary lengths to establish the verisimilitude of his novels.
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SCHOENBAUM, S. (Samuel), 1927-1996 : WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE : A DOCUMENTARY LIFE.
London : Oxford University Press / Scolar Press, 1975. First edition. A splendid life of Shakespeare, rooted in the documentary evidence, and reproducing in full-size facsimile over 200 of the key documents.
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SELDEN, John, 1584-1654 : THE TABLE-TALK OF JOHN SELDEN ESQ.
London : William Pickering, 1847. First Pickering edition. “The not distinguishing where things should be distinguished, and the not confounding, where things should be confounded, is the cause of all the mistakes in the world” and other majestic thinking from the “glory of the English nation”, the jurist and scholar John Selden. Collections of Selden’s table-talk had appeared since the seventeenth century, but are here introduced by a long “biographical preface” from Samuel Weller Singer (1783-1858) – “There are few volumes of its size so pregnant with sense, combined with the most profound learning; it is impossible to open it without finding some important fact ... something practically useful and applicable to the business of life”. Printed by Charles Whittingham at Chiswick.
SMILES, Samuel, 1812-1904 : LIFE & LABOUR : OR CHARACTERISTICS OF MEN OF INDUSTRY CULTURE AND GENIUS.
London : John Murray, 1887. First edition. Samuel “Self-Help” Smiles with “many fresh instances of what can be accomplished by honest force of will and steady accomplishment” from right across the range of human endeavour. Treated thematically, there are inspiring chapters on Man and Gentleman; Great Men – Great Workers; Great Young Men; Great Old Men; Lineage of Talent and Genius; The Literary Ailment (Over Brain-Work); Health and Hobbies; Town and Country Life; Single and Married, and the Evening of Life.
SPEAIGHT, Robert, 1904-1976 : THE LIFE OF ERIC GILL.
London : Methuen & Co., (1966). First edition. The first full-scale biography of Eric Gill (1882-1940).
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SPURLING, Hilary, 1940- : IVY WHEN YOUNG : THE EARLY LIFE OF I. COMPTON-BURNETT, 1884-1919.
London : Victor Gollancz, 1974. First edition. “A story as eventful and often as startling as any of Dame Ivy’s own plots”.
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SPURLING, Hilary, 1940- : SECRETS OF A WOMAN’S HEART : THE LATER LIFE OF IVY COMPTON-BURNETT, 1920-1969.
London : Hodder & Stoughton, (1984). First edition. The reassessment and rediscovery of a major novelist.
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STANFORD, Derek, 1918-2008 : INSIDE THE FORTIES : LITERARY MEMOIRS 1937-1957.
London : Sidgwick & Jackson, (1977). First edition. Absorbing reminiscences of John Bayliss, Roy Campbell, Ian Hamilton Finlay, G. S. Fraser, Wrey Gardiner, Robert Greacen, John Heath-Stubbs, J. F. Hendry, Nicholas Moore, Herbert Read, Julian Maclaren-Ross, Muriel Spark, Dylan Thomas, etc., with much on the London literary haunts of the period.
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STARK, Freya (Freya Madeline), 1893-1993 : TRAVELLER'S PRELUDE / BEYOND EUPHRATES : AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1928-1933 / THE COAST OF INCENSE : AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1933-1939 / DUST IN THE LION’S PAW : AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1939-1946.
London : John Murray, (1950-1961). A complete first edition set of the four volumes of Stark’s autobiography – the first volume signed by the author on the half-title. From her picaresque childhood, through her life and travels in the Arab and Persian world, to World War II – “It is difficult to know which to admire more, her vivid description of her experiences or the realism of the lessons which she draws from them ... Our future is uncontrollable if we are unable to read our past” (Sir Charles Petrie in The Illustrated London News, 28th October 1961).
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TAYLOR, Judy (Julia Marie), 1932- : BEATRIX POTTER : ARTIST, STORYTELLER AND COUNTRYWOMAN.
London : Frederick Warne, (1986). First edition. A richly illustrated biography of Beatrix Potter (1866-1943), with much new material, including previously unpublished photographs and illustrations.
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TRELOAR, Sir William Purdie, 1843-1923 : WILKES AND THE CITY.
London : John Murray, 1917. First edition. An engaging and well-researched life of one Lord Mayor of London – the turbulent and magnificent John Wilkes (1725-1797) – by one of his successors in that office. Duels, the “North Briton”, general warrants, habeas corpus, expulsions from the Commons, the Middlesex elections, the mayoralty and all the rest.
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TUTE, Warren, 1914-1989 : COCHRANE : A LIFE OF ADMIRAL THE EARL OF DUNDONALD.
London : Cassell & Co., (1965). First edition. A life of the mercurial Thomas Cochrane (1775-1860) – Nelson’s “Loup de Mer” – brilliant sailor, inventor, politician, naval strategist, radical reformer, rebel, scourge of bureaucrats and liberator of nations – more honoured from Greece to Brazil than in his own country. “His sweeping indictments of injustice and corruption, his impetuous high courage which had stood him so well as a seaman, earned him only a reputation as a troublemaker”.
UPDIKE, John (John Hoyer), 1932-2009 : SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS : MEMOIRS.
London : André Deutsch, (1989). First British edition. Updike on his home town, his psoriasis and stuttering, Vietnam, his ancestors, his faith and sense of self.
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VAN DOREN, Carl (Carl Clinton), 1885-1950 : THE LIFE OF THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK.
London : J. M. Dent & Sons, 1911. First edition. The first full-length life of the novelist, poet and administrator of the East India Company, Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866), with incidental reference to Jeremy Bentham, John Cam Hobhouse, Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Leigh Hunt, George Meredith, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth, etc.
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WEEKS, Donald (Norman Donald), 1921-2003 : CORVO.
London : Michael Joseph, (1971). First edition. A presentation copy, inscribed with a friendly greeting and signed with forename by the author in July 1971 — the recipient being Edgar S. Brown of Allentown (PA), whom the author singles out for thanks in his foreword, “for his prevailing urgent and American voice across the Atlantic”. Loosely inserted is the address portion of the packaging used to convey the book from London to Pennsylvania. A full-scale biography of “the myopic, paranoiac near genius” Frederick William Rolfe, “Baron Corvo” (1860-1913) — a biography inspired by, but wholly supplanting, A. J. A. Symons’ “The Quest for Corvo” (1934).
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WEIL, Joseph, 1875-1976 : “YELLOW KID” WEIL : THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AMERICA’S MASTER SWINDLER.
Chicago : Ziff-Davis Publishing Co., (1948). First edition. “You can fleece a lamb many times, but only take his hide once” – the life, thoughts and reminiscences of the legendary con-man and grifter, as told to the crime-writer William T. Brannon (1906-1981). Some of the most elaborate and successful real-life stings and hustles ever pulled off and the ultimate inspiration behind countless books, films and television series.
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