ASH RARE BOOKS – ANTIQUARIAN RARE AND FINE BOOKS – FIRST EDITIONS – ANTIQUE MAPS AND PRINTS
ASH RARE BOOKS
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AMES, Delano (Delano L.), 1906-1987 : HE FOUND HIMSELF MURDERED.
London : Gerald G. Swan, (1947). First edition. “The winsome, but too aggressive blonde named Carrie really has nothing to do with the story. Not that Steve Brabazon had any objection to blondes qua blondes. But Carrie carried the principle too far”. Ames with a witty series of three interlinked stories, pre-dating his delightful Jane and Dagobert Brown murder mysteries.
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BAYLY, A. Eric (Arthur Eric Cochrane), 1879-1900 : THE SECRET OF SCOTLAND YARD : A MYSTERY.
London : Sands & Co., 1900. First edition. A rare, early, and entertaining murder mystery which opens with a young “unofficial investigator” in an office off Fenchurch Street. “One apparent murder, two advertisements in an agony column, two veiled ladies, a secret society, two or three villains, a highly suspicious private detective ... and another from Scotland Yard, more knave than fool, are the main ingredients” (Pall Mall Gazette, 19th April 1900). And to those we might add the anonymous letter, the overheard telephone call, the strange visitor, the cab-ride to an empty house beyond Ealing Common, and the corpse handcuffed to an insensate young man – “a maze of mysteries”.
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BECKFORD, William [i.e. Sir Peter, 1740-1811] : THOUGHTS ON HUNTING. IN A SERIES OF FAMILIAR LETTERS TO A FRIEND.
London : Albion Press, for James Cundee; and Vernor, Hood & Sharpe, 1810 [but 1809]. The last lifetime edition of Beckford’s sporting classic in a highly unusual binding : the first issue, with the author’s name incorrectly given as William, rather than Peter Beckford. The first thoroughgoing account of hare and fox-hunting, originally published anonymously in 1781, and here furnished with a fresh set of plates, engraved by John Scott (1774 -1827) from the paintings of James Barenger (1780-1831). It was said of Beckford that “Never had fox or hare the honour of being chased to death by so accomplished a hunter; never was a huntsman’s dinner graced by such urbanity and wit. He would bag a fox in Greek, find a hare in Latin, inspect his kennels in Italian, and direct the economy of his stables in exquisite French”. An early owner of the book has had it strikingly bound with the accusatory legend “Pirated edition by Cundee” lettered boldly on the centre of the spine – the owner, the reasons for regarding the book as a piracy, and for shaming it on the binding in this way, remain entirely unknown, although the book contains a dozen or so contemporary manuscript corrections (some partly shaved off in binding), including a note that two paragraphs have been omitted on p.241. For further detail and images, see the post
A Bibliographical Binding, 26th May 2022, on the “Bookhunter on Safari” blog.
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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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BELL, Andrew – publisher : THE HISTORY OF THE MOST REMARKABLE TRYALS IN GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND, IN CAPITAL CASES, VIZ, HERESY, TREASON, FELONY, INCEST, POISONING, ADULTERY, RAPES, SODOMY, WITCHCRAFT, PYRACY, MURDER, ROBBERY, &C. ...
London : for A. Bell; J. Pemberton, and J. Brown, 1715. First edition. Trials ancient and modern, including trials by ordeal, combat and attainder, as well as by the laws of church and state. A chronological selection, commencing with the trial by fire of Queen Emma before the Conquest, and continuing with similar highlights, some treated at very full length, including the trial of Cecely de Rygeway for the murder of her husband in 1347; the trial by combat of Henry Plantagenet (Henry IV) and Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, in 1397; the trial of Richard, Earl of Cambridge, for treason against Henry V; the trials of Sir John Oldcastle both for heresy and for treason in 1413 and 1417 respectively; the trial of Anne Boleyn; the treason rial of Thomas Cromwell; the attainder of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, and the treason trial of his son, the Earl of Surrey, in 1547; the trial of Alice Arden of Faversham in 1551; the treason trial of Sir Nicholas Throgmorton in 1554, and the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1586, as well as a number of less well known cases. A further selection was published the following year.
BLIXEN, Karen (Karen Christence, Baroness Blixen-Finecke, 1885-1962) : WINTER’S TALES : BY KAREN BLIXEN (ISAK DINESEN).
London : Putnam & Co., (1942). First edition in English of “Vinter-Eventyr” – a collection of eleven short stories on themes suggested by occupied Denmark – themes of courage and resilience, pride and shame, freedom and death, etc. Includes “The Invincible Slave Owners”, “The Heroine”, “Sorrow-Acre”, etc. “All the greatest works of art are allegorical in the sense that they imply more than they state, and illuminate human nature everywhere” (L. P. Hartley reviewing the book in “The Sketch”, 21st April 1943).
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BOYD, William, 1952- : AN ICE-CREAM WAR.
London : Hamish Hamilton, (1982). First edition. His third novel – “It is far too hot for sustained fighting ... we will all melt like ice-cream in the sun”. Evelyn Waugh meets John Buchan as eccentric settlers take up arms in the East African Campaign of the First World War.
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“BRAMAH, Ernest” – [SMITH, Ernest Brammah, 1868-1942] : THE EYES OF MAX CARRADOS.
London : Grant Richards, 1923. First edition. “The Virginiola Fraud”, “The Missing Actress Sensation”, and seven further mysteries featuring the all-seeing blind detective of Richmond. “As fresh ... as when he first appeared ... Mr. Chesterton’s ‘Father Brown’ and the late Jaques Futrelle’s ‘Thinking Machine’ perhaps run him rather close for the deputyship of the lamented Sherlock. Max probably has it with the average reader ... well above the ordinary standard by which fiction detectives capture magazine readers” (Yorkshire Post, 26th September 1923).
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“BRAMAH, Ernest” – [SMITH, Ernest Brammah, 1868-1942] : KAI LUNG BENEATH THE MULBERRY-TREE.
London : Richards Press, (1940). First edition. “Mr. Bramah records the honey-tongued raconteur’s latest stories. They have all the inimitable qualities of the earlier collections ... the most delicate wit, and the shrewdest of observations on human life” (Daily News, 20th March 1940). “Needs no description ... as good as ever, and Mr. Bramah’s genius with the idiom has not failed” (Illustrated London News, 20th April 1940). The last of the five collections of Kai Lung stories published in Bramah’s lifetime – a series begun forty years earlier.
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BUCHAN, John, 1875-1940 : THE MOON ENDURETH : TALES AND FANCIES.
Edinburgh & London : William Blackwood & Sons, 1912. First edition. A collection of ten short stories, including “The Company of the Marjolaine”, “The Lemnian”, “The Grove of Ashtaroth”, “The Kings of Orion”, etc., interspersed with accompanying poems – “Few writers have Mr. Buchan’s ability for expressing through the medium of the short story the dramatic, or poetic, significance of so wide a range of subjects ... the psychology of heredity, in Jacobite romance, in fishing, in mountaineering ... In ‘A Lucid Interval’ ... we are told how a deadly, mysterious Indian drug administered to the members of a Liberal Cabinet creates the greatest confusion ... The satire of this is delightful ... a welcome addition to the shelves of all who appreciate the literary side of fiction” (The Globe, 24th May 1912).
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BURFORD, Eleanor (Eleanor Alice), 1906-1993 : FOOLISH VIRGIN.
London : Raphael Tuck & Sons, [ca.1944]. First edition. “Irene Dallas shivered as she slipped into her black velvet gown ...” – Eleanor Burford (later Hibbert) wrote a number of romances under her own name, but is more familiar as Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt, or Philippa Carr – her three best-known pseudonyms – and a runaway best-seller under each of them. The present title, from the outset of her career, appeared in the “Tuck’s Better Little Books” series, which “had its origin in the early days of the war, and was intended to provide a suitable diversion during air-raid alerts. Handy little books like these could be easily carried in the pocket, and handed on from one reader to another in the shelters. At the same time, by their small size, the books made the most of the very limited quantities of paper then available”. Survival rates of these ephemeral publications are poor – not a single copy of the present title has been located in major libraries worldwide, and nor does it appear in any online listing of the author’s works.
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BURNSIDE, Helen Marion, 1844-1923 : FAIRY FINE-EAR’S FANCIES.
London : Sydney J. Saunders & Co., . First edition. Charmingly illustrated poetic fancies for children, with “The Mermaid and the Zoophite”, “Swinging – Swinging – To, and Fro”, “The Fairies and the Bees” and “Said a Dewdrop to a Skylark”. Seemingly a variant issue, with the imprint of Sydney John Saunders (1837-1923), stationer and manufacturer of Christmas cards, etc. – the handful of other copies traced bearing the imprint of the similar Sockl & Nathan firm. Undated, but the book, beautifully printed in Leipzig, was noticed in the press in the latter part of 1889 – “full of such wonderfully nice pictures” (Newcastle Courant, 14th December) – and here has a Christmas 1889 gift inscription.
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BYRON, George Gordon Noel Byron, 6th Baron, 1788-1824 : WERNER, A TRAGEDY / THE DEFORMED TRANSFORMED; A DRAMA / MARINO FALIERO, DOGE OF VENICE. AN HISTORICAL TRAGEDY ...
London : John Murray / J. & H. L. Hunt / John Murray, 1823 / 1824 / 1821. Three Byron first editions bound together – “Werner” (the traditional first issue, without “The End” and the printer’s imprint on p.188, Byron’s gothic play set in a ruined castle on the Silesian frontier; the scarce “The Deformed Transformed” – a Faustian pact, and “Marino Faliero” (the traditional first issue, with the shorter speech on p.151) – an indecent libel on the Doge’s wife sets the action in train. The last also contains Byron’s long poem, “The Prophecy of Dante”. Three volumes, bound in one.
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CARR, John Dickson, 1906-1977 : THE SLEEPING SPHINX : A DR FELL DETECTIVE STORY.
London : Hamish Hamilton, (1947). First British edition. The mystery of a man who comes back to London from the dead. “It looks impossible, insoluble; it turns out clear as day, a neat little crime, an excellently human motive. This is Carr at his best” (Illustrated London News, 23rd August 1947). Also published in New York the same year.
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CHESTERTON, G.K. (Gilbert Keith), 1874-1936 : THE SCANDAL OF FATHER BROWN.
London : Cassell & Co., (1935). First edition. The fifth and last of the Father Brown volumes – eight short stories, including “The Pursuit of Mr. Blue”, “The Crime of the Communist” and “The Insoluble Problem” – “The chief distinction between Mr. Chesterton’s Father Brown and all other detectives is that Father Brown sees and deals with sinners while other detectives commonly deal with criminals” (Daily News, 22nd April 1935).
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[COOPER, James Fenimore, 1789-1851] : THE WATER WITCH; OR, THE SKIMMER OF THE SEAS.
London : Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1830. First British edition. Alida de Barbérie is abducted by pirates – the brigantine “Water Witch” is pursued by Captain Ludlow. Set in and around the still half-Dutch New York of the early eighteenth century – the press was unanimous: “the mystery of the story, and the life and spirit of his characters, have, indeed, seldom been equalled, and is nowhere surpassed” (Morning Chronicle) – “Cooper, the American novelist, has no living superior” (The Scotsman). Precedes the American edition by two months, although a slightly earlier edition improbably published in Dresden is known in a handful of copies.
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CRUIKSHANK, George, 1792-1878 – illustrator : SINKS OF LONDON LAID OPEN : A POCKET COMPANION FOR THE UNINITIATED, TO WHICH IS ADDED A MODERN FLASH DICTIONARY CONTAINING ALL THE CANT WORDS, SLANG TERMS, AND FLASH PHRASES NOW IN VOGUE ...
London : J. Duncombe, 1848 [but later]. A late nineteenth-century facsimile of the edition published by John Duncombe (1791-1853) in 1848, although the book itself, as “A Peep into the Holy Land, or, Sinks of London Laid Open”, had first appeared in the 1820s. A classic exposé of the dark side of life in the capital – “A True Picture of London Life, Cadging Made Easy, the He-She Man, Doings of the Modern Greeks, Snooking Kens Depicted, the Common Lodging-House Gallants, Lessons to Lovers of Dice, The Gaming Table”, etc. The fascinating “Flash Dictionary” runs to thirty-six pages at the end of the work, followed by a list of the sixty orders of “prime coves” – rum-bubbers, groaners, duffers, twirlers, gammoners, knackers, priggers, gaggers, dragsmen, bloods, and all the rest.
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DICKENS, Charles (Charles John Huffam), 1812-1870 : DOMBEY AND SON.
London : Bradbury & Evans, 1848. First edition, in book form, bound from the original monthly parts published between October 1846 and April 1848. Dickens’ telling tale of father and son, father and daughter – when the fifth instalment appeared, Thackeray – himself in the middle of serialising “Vanity Fair” – exclaimed “There’s no writing against such power as this – no one has a chance! Read that chapter describing young Paul’s death: it is unsurpassed – it is stupendous”. This copy exhibits the dropped “if” on p.426 – a point of no proven significance, any more than all the other errors said to indicate a mythical “first issue” – see the Not Peevish post of 20th December 2013, on the “Bookhunter on Safari” blog.
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DONLEAVY, J.P. (James Patrick), 1926-2017 : A SINGULAR MAN.
London : Bodley Head, (1964). First British edition. His second novel – a dark masterpiece of love and imagination. Originally published in Boston the previous year – “Becomes by turns a love story, a melodrama, a soap opera, an unresolved detective story, a vaudeville routine, and a very fine light novel” (Renata Adler in The New Yorker, May 16th 1964).
“DONOVAN, Dick” – [MUDDOCK, James Edward, 1843-1934] : THE RECORDS OF VINCENT TRILL OF THE DETECTIVE SERVICE.
London : Chatto & Windus, 1899. First edition. Sixteen short stories, including “The Spell of the Black Siren”, “A String of Famous Pearls”, “The League of Death”, “The Forged Cheque”, etc. “Mr. Dick Donovan is well known as a writer of clever detective stories. ‘The Records of Vincent Trill’ (Chatto) is as good as any that he has given us. Vincent Trill was no ordinary detective ... It is of course another matter whether it is desirable to encourage the public interest in the records of crime and criminals, but one can hardly blame Mr. Donovan for giving his readers what they want” (St. James’s Gazette, 17th May 1899).
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EGAN, Pierce, 1772-1849 : LIFE IN LONDON; OR, THE DAY AND NIGHT SCENES OF JERRY HAWTHORN, ESQ. AND HIS ELEGANT FRIEND CORINTHIAN TOM, ACCOMPANIED BY BOB LOGIC, THE OXONIAN, IN THEIR RAMBLES AND SPREES THROUGH THE METROPOLIS.
London : for Sherwood, Neely & Jones, 1821. First edition : the second issue, with the footnote on p.9. Pierce Egan’s roaring and runaway success – racy, slangy, and riotous adventures among the highest of high life and the lowest of low life in Regency London – “In his particular line, he was the greatest man in England” (John Camden Hotten). The sparkling text which took the country by storm as it appeared in instalments between August 1820 and July 1821 is gloriously accompanied by the superb aquatints of the brothers Isaac Robert and George Cruikshank, many depicting recognisable London scenes.
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“ERSKINE, Rosalind” – [LONGRIGG, Roger Erskine, 1929-2000] : THE PASSION-FLOWER HOTEL / PASSION FLOWERS IN ITALY / PASSION FLOWERS IN BUSINESS.
London : Jonathan Cape, (1962-1965). A first edition set of all three novels in Longrigg’s succès de scandale, purportedly written by the fifteen-year-old Rosalind Erskine – Nabokov meets Angela Brazil as well brought up nymphets set up a near-bordello in the gym of their highly respectable boarding-school. Adapted into a musical by Wolf Mankowitz and John Barry, and later filmed in Germany with Natassja Kinski.
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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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FEARNSIDE, William Gray, 1798-1838 – editor : THE HISTORY OF LONDON : ILLUSTRATED BY VIEWS IN LONDON AND WESTMINSTER, ENGRAVED BY JOHN WOODS ...
London : Orr & Co.; Simpkin Marshall & Co. & others, 1838. First edition. A discursive history of London, with some out of the way figures on historic prices, etc., the text acting as a vehicle to accompany the splendid steel-engraved plates, engraved by John Woods (fl.1835-1855) and others from the drawings of Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, Hablot Knight Browne (“Phiz”), Robert Garland, John Francis Salmon, Francis William Topham, Edward John Roberts, etc. Alongside views of the well-known buildings – Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, Mansion House, Somerset House, etc., there are some fine street scenes of Cheapside, Leadenhall Street, King William Street, etc., as well as views of the West India Dock, Billingsgate, etc. Originally published in monthly parts from June 1837, the text was continued after Fearnside’s early death by Thomas Harral (1773?-1853). “A most useful visual account of the London scene in the year of Queen Victoria’s accession ... the plates ... are of high quality” (Bernard Adams).
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FOWLES, John (John Robert), 1926-2005 : THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN.
London : Jonathan Cape, (1969). First edition. Victorian Lyme Regis and the enigmatic Sarah Woodruff – a book for which the note on the dust-jacket about the pagination being correct is perhaps a necessary prelude. Filmed by Karel Reisz in 1981 with a Harold Pinter screenplay, Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, etc.
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FRANCIS, Dick (Richard Stanley), 1920-2010 : ODDS AGAINST.
London : Michael Joseph, (1965). First edition. Inscribed, signed and dated by Dick Francis in the year of publication. The first Sid Halley novel – steeple-chase jockey turned sleuth investigates the cunningly contrived decline of a race-course.
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FREEMAN, R. Austin (Richard Austin), 1862-1943 : THE FAMOUS CASES OF DR. THORNDYKE : THIRTY-SEVEN OF HIS CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS AS SET DOWN BY R. AUSTIN FREEMAN.
London : Hodder & Stoughton, . First edition of this thousand-page-plus omnibus collection of all bar three of the Thorndyke short stories which had appeared in the five collections published between 1909 and 1927. The stories are here grouped into six “inverted” and thirty-one “direct” examples, with an absorbing new preface by the author on the nature and methodology of the detective story. “Mr Freeman’s super-detective, Dr Thorndyke, needs no introduction ... each case has some new ingenuity to commend it” (The Scotsman, 14th October 1929).
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GIBBS, Philip (Sir Philip Armand Hamilton), 1877-1962 : DARKENED ROOMS : A NOVEL.
London : Hutchinson & Co. (Publishers), . First edition. The best-selling book of the early months of 1929 – a tragic tale of séances, spiritualism and messages from the other side, which opens with “goings-on” on the corner of Ezra Road and Electric Avenue in Brixton, where “young females a bit short in the frock, with young gents in evening clothes” have taken to turning up in smart cars late at night. Gibbs faultlessly captures the milieu of a certain time, a certain mood and a certain place. Filmed later in 1929 by Louis J. Gasnier – an early talking picture with Evelyn Brent, Neil Hamilton, etc.
GODWIN, William, 1756-1836 : MANDEVILLE. A TALE OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY IN ENGLAND.
Edinburgh : for Archibald Constable & Co., 1817. First edition. “Invisible things are the only realities; invisible things alone are the things that shall remain” – the originator of the psychological novel, “intimately skilled in the perversity of the human mind, and in all the blackest and most horrible passions of the human heart” (Quarterly Review, 1817), takes on the issues of the English Civil War. Published not long before his daughter Mary Shelley produced “Frankenstein” and much admired by Shelley himself, who immediately sent a copy to Byron, describing it as Godwin’s best.
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GRACE, W.G. (William Gilbert), 1848-1915 : CRICKETING REMINISCENCES AND PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS.
London : James Bowden, 1899. First edition. An attractively illustrated and very full account of the career of the great man – to some extent ghost-written by Arthur Porritt (1872-1947) – from early recollections to decade-by-decade chapters on the 1860s, 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s, with further individual chapters on early tours in Canada, the United States, and Australia, as well as thoughts on his contemporaries, hints to young cricketers, a statistical history of cricket, the laws of the game, etc. “With such a career behind him Dr. Grace’s pen could no more help pouring forth interesting matter than his bat at one time could help knocking up centuries ... constitutes in a way a history of modern cricket ... the stories are as innumerable as they are good” (Pall Mall Gazette).
GRAVES, Robert (Robert von Ranke), 1895-1985 : THE PIER-GLASS.
London : Martin Secker, . First edition : [one of just 500 copies printed]. Graves’ scarce second collection of poems for Secker. Twenty-five poems, including “The Finding of Love”, “The Kiss”, “The Coronation Murder”, etc.
GREENE, Graham (Henry Graham), 1904-1991 : THE HEART OF THE MATTER.
London : William Heinemann, (1948). First edition. “If one knew, he wondered, the facts, would one have to feel pity even for the planets? If one reached what they called the heart of the matter?” – the moral crisis of Henry Scobie in Sierra Leone – and the heart of Greene.
GREENE, Graham (Henry Graham), 1904-1991 : THE QUIET AMERICAN.
London : William Heinemann, (1955). First edition. “I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused”. Western involvement in Indo-China – twice filmed, with Audie Murphy and Michael Redgrave in 1958, and with Brendan Fraser and Michael Caine in 2002 – the book which made Greene a CIA suspect for the remainder of his life.
HADFIELD, John (John Charles Heywood), 1907-1999 – editor : RESTORATION LOVE SONGS.
Preston (HRT) : Cupid Press, 1950. First edition : limited to 660 numbered copies on mould-made paper. A fine and unnusual selection of 114 seventeenth-century lyrics – Aphra Behn; William Congreve; Sir William Davenant; John Dryden; Thomas D’Urfey; Sir George Etherege; George Farquhar; John Oldmixon; Thomas Otway; Sir Charles Sedley; John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester – but most impressive for some remarkably fine and little-known poems from lesser and even anonymous poets. With an absorbing introduction and extensive notes by Hadfield. Beautifully produced and with illustrations by Rex Whistler.
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HAGGARD, H. Rider (Sir Henry Rider), 1856-1925 : ALLAN’S WIFE AND OTHER TALES.
London : Spencer Blackett, 1889. First edition. The title story and three further Quatermain tales, “Hunter Quatermain’s Story”, “A Tale of Three Lions” and “Long Odds”. “The most notable conception in Mr. Rider Haggard’s new volume of stories ... is surely the baboon-woman, Hendrika” (St. James’s Gazette, 18th December 1889).
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“HALL, Bradnock” – [NEWBOLT, Sir Francis George, 1863-1940] : FISH-TAILS : AND SOME TRUE ONES
London : Edward Arnold, 1897. First edition. The barrister and artist Sir Francis Newbolt, brother of the poet, with tales of fishing – in Scotland, on the Thames, and especially in the salmon rivers of Norway – with a concluding piece on “The Angler’s Library”. “There is a freshness and a certain refined choice of language in these three-and-twenty chats on angling topics which raise them above the usual level of fishermen’s stories” (St. James’s Gazette, 26th April 1897). “Some capital reading of an unhackneyed kind” (Morning Post, 13th April 1897).
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HANLEY, James, 1901-1985 : CAPTAIN BOTTELL.
London : Boriswood, 1933. First trade edition. The self-taught former ship’s stoker with a powerful novel of a captain obsessed with his only passenger, the wife of a diplomat. A mysterious stoker named Mulcare joins the crew at the last minute. “You are not reading about a ship, you live on it ... I am happy that Mr. Hanley has achieved this first-rate novel. For me he is now easily first among living writers of sea stories” (Richard Aldington).
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HARDY, Thomas, 1840-1928 : TWO ON A TOWER. A ROMANCE.
London : Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1882. First edition : one of 1,000 copies of the first issue text, before the corrections made for the virtually identical second impression. One of Hardy’s most original, interesting and controversial novels – a Wessex tale of star-crossed lovers in which he aimed “to make science, not the mere padding of a romance, but the actual vehicle of romance” – “We have known military novels, sporting and dramatic novels, law and police novels, but an astronomical novel never ... The author, in fact, has imagined and described a woman with whom few of his male readers will not fall in love” (contemporary review in The Athenaeum).
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HARDY, Thomas, 1840-1928 & OTHERS : THREE NOTABLE STORIES : LOVE AND PERIL : TO BE, OR NOT TO BE : THE MELANCHOLY HUSSAR.
London : Spencer Blackett, 1890. First edition. Three novellas making their first appearance in book form – the first from John Campbell, Marquis of Lorne, later Duke of Argyll (1845-1914); the second from Annie Hector Alexander (1825-1902), and the third – “The Melancholy Hussar” – from Thomas Hardy. The Hardy story originally appeared in “The Bristol Times and Mirror” earlier in 1890.
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HARDY, Thomas, 1840-1928 : HUMAN SHOWS FAR PHANTASIES : SONGS, AND TRIFLES.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1925. First edition. The last collection published in Hardy’s lifetime – 152 poems, most previously unpublished and mainly recently composed, although with a handful from earlier in his career.
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HARRIS, John, 1756-1846 – publisher : THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS OF THE CITY OF LONDON DESCRIBED.
London : John Harris, 1831. First edition. A charming illustrated pocket volume in the Harris “Little Library” series of familiar introductions to “various branches of useful knowledge”, intended, like most of the Harris output, for younger readers. Alongside the more familiar city landmarks – St. Paul’s, the Tower, the Royal Exchange, etc. – there is material on St. Paul’s School, Farringdon Market, Smithfield, the Docks, Wapping, the Thames Tunnel, etc.
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[HUDSON, W.H. (William Henry), 1841-1922] : A CRYSTAL AGE.
London : T. Fisher Unwin, 1887. First edition. An anonymously published landmark in dystopian fiction, with the narrator recovering from unconsciousness into a future William Morris arts-and-crafts ecological world without cities, money or politics – pre-dating Morris’s own “News from Nowhere” by several years, and Wells’s “A Modern Utopia” by even more. Inserted, in its original envelope, is a remarkable single-page signed autograph letter on his North Parade, Penzance, notepaper, dated 31st December 1920, from W. H. Hudson, replying to an enquiry about the scarcity of the book – “I am pleased to learn the first edition is scarce as I would be glad to have it out of existence. The book is a poor thing but in the later editions one or two of the most glaring absurdities are eliminated. The first edition had an ugly black and red cover. I have succeeded in recovering a few copies for the pleasure of destroying them”.
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HUGHES, Ted (Edward James), 1930-1998 : ANIMAL POEMS.
Crediton : Richard Gilbertson, . First edition : limited to 100 copies – this copy unsigned, unsewn, untrimmed, and out of series, but presumably belonging to the final sequence of sixty-four copies, without the manuscript additions. Fourteen poems, including “An Otter”, “The Jaguar”, “Wodwo”, “Hawk Roosting”, etc.
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HUGHES, Ted (Edward James), 1930-1998 : EARTH-MOON.
London : Rainbow Press, (1976). First edition : one of just twenty-six lettered copies (of 226) printed for the author’s personal use and signed by Ted Hughes. A collection of thirty-one poems, designed and printed on hand-made paper by Sebastian Carter at the Rampant Lions Press in Cambridge. The ten illustrations, printed in blue, are by Ted Hughes himself.
ISHERWOOD, Christopher (Christopher William Bradshaw), 1904-1986 : SALLY BOWLES.
London : Leonard & Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press, 1937. First edition : one of just 2,040 copies printed. “One expects a good deal of this subtle, lively, attractive author, whose Muse frequents rather shady company but without losing her grace and poise ... a story of Berlin before the Nazi regime had clipped the wings of its gaiety” (The Sketch, 10th November 1937). The basis, of course, of the musical “Cabaret”, filmed with Liza Minelli, but also of the earlier play and film “I Am a Camera” – irreverently reviewed by Walter Kerr, “Me No Leica”.
JACKSON, John, 1801-1848 [& CHATTO, William Andrew, 1799-1864] : A TREATISE ON WOOD ENGRAVING, HISTORICAL AND PRACTICAL. WITH UPWARDS OF THREE HUNDRED ILLUSTRATIONS, ENGRAVED ON WOOD, BY JOHN JACKSON.
London : Charles Knight & Co., 1839. First edition. A monumental and attractive treatise on the whole history and practice of wood-engraving, with much on the antiquity of the process, the age of Durer, the revival under Thomas Bewick, the precise techniques and tools employed, etc. Jackson had served part of his apprenticeship under Bewick himself and was one of the finest practitioners of his time. His collaborator, William Andrew Chatto (father of the publisher), also wrote on the history of playing-cards, etc.
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JAMES, Henry, 1843-1916 : THE AWKWARD AGE.
London : William Heinemann, 1899. First edition : [one of 2,000 copies]. Eighteen-year-old Nanda enters the decadent fin-de-siècle marriage market – “We begin by being afraid that we shall not understand enough, we end by fearing that we may understand too much ... It is a strong book, but there is one thing greater than its strength, and that is its audacity” (Morning Post, 29th June 1899). A copy from the library of Sir Stephen Spender (1909-1995). Spender’s “The Destructive Element” (1935) remains one of the most interesting and influential studies of James and his contemporaries.
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JAMES, Henry, 1843-1916 : THE BETTER SORT.
London : Methuen & Co., 1903. First edition : in the variant and possibly secondary blue binding. Eleven short stories – “Mr. James’s best sort ... nearly every story contains an idea of real power and interest” (Westminster Gazette, 21st March 1903). A copy from the library of Sir Stephen Spender (1909-1995), with his occasional pencil markings. Spender’s “The Destructive Element” (1935) remains one of the most interesting and influential studies of James and his contemporaries.
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“JANSON, Hank” – [FRANCES, Stephen Daniel, 1917-1989] : SILKEN MENACE.
London : Top Fiction, . First edition : the variant with the advertisements for the sheet-music of the Anne Shelton recording (Summer 1953) of the “Hank Janson Blues” on the inner wrappers. The first novel of the never-completed final “Continental” series – a change of scene brings Janson to Amsterdam and an entanglement both with the lovely Helga and a gang of Iron Curtain smugglers. The lower wrapper reproduces the cover of the planned but never published “Perfumed Nemesis”. Later republished under the Alexander Moring imprint as “Silken Snare” in 1959.
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JEFFERIES, Richard (John Richard), 1848-1887 : THE DEWY MORN. A NOVEL.
London : Richard Bentley & Son, 1884. First edition : just 625 sets were printed, of which only 425 were initially sent for binding. “Meadow and brook, wheat-fields and hills – a simple landscape, yet such as is not to be surpassed by any on earth. A common landscape – there are hundreds such in England – yet beyond compare. There are none like it elsewhere in the wide world” – Jefferies in his element in his native Wiltshire, with a novel characterised as “a sad little episode of cottage life, very tragic in its termination” (Reading Mercury, 20th September 1884). “Human nature, especially rustic human nature, has seldom if ever had a closer student or a more picturesque exponent” (The Graphic, 20th September 1884).
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JEFFERIES, Richard (John Richard), 1848-1887 : AMARYLLIS AT THE FAIR : A NOVEL.
London : Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1887. First edition. His late novel, to some extent autobiographical and based on his own family and their small Wiltshire farm. “He has certainly made himself master of a peculiarly graceful and often fascinating style of fiction” (The Graphic, 28th May 1887).
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JONES, Owen, 1809-1874 – illustrator : THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE SACRAMENTS, AND OTHER RITES AND CEREMONIES ...
London : John Murray, 1845. First Owen Jones edition. One of the highlights of early Victorian book production and early colour printing – the text with decorative borders and initials throughout, many in colour, interspersed with divisional titles chromolithographed in gold and glowing colours, and illustrations drawn from the great masters.
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KINGSLEY, Charles, 1819-1875 : WESTWARD HO! OR, THE VOYAGES AND ADVENTURES OF SIR AMYAS LEIGH, KNIGHT ...
Cambridge : Macmillan & Co., 1855. First edition. Kingsley’s ever-popular saga of the days of Drake, the Armada, etc. – “the most perfect romance that we have yet had from Mr. Kingsley’s pen ... he is in love with the manliness, hardihood, and imagination of our forefathers” (Daily News, 4th April 1855). The first novel ever published by Macmillan and probably unique in Victorian fiction in having a holiday resort named after it (much to Kingsley’s annoyance).
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KIPLING, Rudyard (Joseph Rudyard), 1865-1936 : STALKY & CO.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1899. First edition. "In summer all right-minded boys built huts in the furze-hill behind the college – little lairs whittled out of the heart of the prickly bushes, full of stumps, odd root-ends, and spikes, but, since they were strictly forbidden, palaces of delight".
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LANG, Andrew, 1844-1912 : THE DISENTANGLERS.
London : Longmans, Green & Co., 1902. First edition. “Wild, roaring fun” (Daily News, 20th November 1902). Two well-connected but impoverished young men recruit a team of likewise young, charming and penniless men and women, available for hire to disrupt and disentangle unfortunate or unsuitable romantic attachments before too much harm can be done either to the lovers or, more particularly, their families – “Adventure of the Exemplary Earl”, “Adventure of the Lady Novelist and the Vaccinationist”, “Adventure of the Fair American”, and other tales. “In ‘The Disentanglers’ we have the apotheosis of the detective-story, with, as Mr. Lang’s Canadian millionaire would say, ‘every modern improvement’, divorced, too, from ‘all that cheap revolver business’, to quote the hero and Disentangler-in-Chief ... Apart from the excellent construction and swing of the stories, there is endless fun in the sly digs at literature, modern and ancient – at the penny novelette, the British Museum girl, and the Celtic minor poet” (The Sketch, 3rd December 1902).
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LEWIS, C.S. (Clive Staples), 1898-1963 : PRINCE CASPIAN : THE RETURN TO NARNIA.
London : Geoffrey Bles, (1951). First edition. The second to be published (but fourth in chronological order) of the Chronicles of Narnia – the four Pevensie children return to Narnia.
LEWIS, C.S. (Clive Staples), 1898-1963 : THE LAST BATTLE : A STORY FOR CHILDREN.
London : John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1956. First edition. The seventh and final novel in the Chronicles of Narnia – Shift the ape, Puzzle the donkey – Jill and Eustace come to the aid of King Tirian. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, with Lewis writing to his illustrator Pauline Baynes, “Is it not rather ‘our’ medal? I’m sure the illustrations were taken into account”.
MÁRQUEZ, Gabriel García, 1927-2014 : NO ONE WRITES TO THE COLONEL.
London : Jonathan Cape, (1971). First British edition. The title-story and the eight short stories of the “Big Mama’s Funeral” sequence, first published in Colombia and Mexico in 1961-1962. “One of the richest pieces of writing this exceptional author has produced” (Victoria Brittain in the Illustrated London News, 1st October 1971). The second of his books (and the first of his short stories) to appear in a British edition, the translations those of J. S. Bernstein first published in the United States. Márquez was awarded the Nobel in 1982 “for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination”.
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MASON, A.E.W. (Alfred Edward Woodley), 1865-1948 : FIRE OVER ENGLAND.
London : Hodder & Stoughton, 1936. First edition. “Everything in this book is tense, electric. On every page there is a touch of magic; a flight of visual imagination ... atmosphere conveyed so that it becomes almost palpable. Mr. Mason has written no better book than this” (Douglas West). An Elizabethan tale of espionage and revenge in the days leading up to the Armada – filmed in 1937 with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh (their first pairing), as well as Flora Robson, Tamara Desni, James Mason, etc.
MAUGHAM, W. Somerset (William Somerset), 1874-1965 : THE PAINTED VEIL.
New York : George H. Doran Co., (1925). First edition. Published a month earlier than the London edition and retaining a textual integrity which the British publication did not – two separate libel actions having necessitated changes in the names of characters in the latter, as well as the substitution of the fictional place-names of Tching-Yen, Pleasant Vale, and The Mount, for the real places of Hong Kong, Happy Valley, and The Peak. “Like many other of Mr. Maugham’s stories, the scene of his latest – and best – book is laid ‘East of Suez’. The theme, a loveless marriage and its disastrous aftermath, though old as the hills, is invested with modernity and freshness by means of a photographic realism” (Nottingham Journal, 21st May 1925). Filmed in 1934 (Greta Garbo), and in 2006 (Naomi Watts).
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MAUGHAM, W. Somerset (William Somerset), 1874-1965 : ASHENDEN : OR THE BRITISH AGENT.
London : William Heinemann, 1928. First edition. Clearly based on Maugham’s own experiences working for British Intelligence during World War I and very much the prototype of the modern espionage novel. It is alleged that Churchill himself urged Maugham to burn a number of further stories originally intended for the book. Turned into a TV series in 1991, with Alex Jennings, Joss Ackland, Ian Bannen, Jason Isaacs, etc.
MIDON, Francis, 1705- : THE HISTORY OF THE RISE AND FALL OF MASANIELLO, THE FISHERMAN OF NAPLES, CONTAINING AN EXACT AND IMPARTIAL RELATION OF THE TUMULTS AND POPULAR INSRRECTIONS, THAT HAPPENED IN THAT KINGDOM, (IN THE YEAR 1647.) ON ACCOUNT OF THE TAX UPON FRUITS.
London : for C. Davis and T. Green, 1729. First edition. “I have as little as possible interrupted the Thread of the Narration with idle and prolix Digressions or Reflections” – if only all historians were as disciplined as this London writing-master in his only book – an account of a popular uprising against an iniquitous tax on fruit – “All sorts were included, as well dry as green; as Mulberries, Grapes, Figgs, Apples, Pears and Plumbs; whereby the common sort of People were deprived of their usual Nourishment and Support, and reduced to the lowest Misery and Distress”. The uprising was led by the young Tommaso Aniello (1620-1647), known as Masaniello, whose short life and brief victory led to many depictions as a popular hero in art, theatre and opera, as well as discussion in the works of writers as diverse as John Locke and Tom Paine.
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MOORCOCK, Michael (Michael John), 1939- : BREAKFAST IN THE RUINS.
New York : Random House, . First American edition. Signed by Michael Moorcock on the title-page. A disturbing fantasy – this edition with the deliberately false announcement of Moorcock’s death by way of introduction – the action commencing on the roof garden of Derry & Toms, but ranging through time from 1871 to 1990, through place from Havana to Shanghai, through multiple incarnations of the principal character, and through multiple “What would you do?” moral dilemmas. “A fearful, compelling book – told with a calm voice through clenched teeth”.
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“MORELLI, Spike” – [NEWTON, William (William Simpson), 1923-2009] : COFFIN FOR A CUTIE.
Stoke-on-Trent : Archer Press, (1950). First edition. “Sam Case was brought up in a swamp cabin in Georgia. He was a rough kid who was used to finding things out for himself. This is the story of how he found out plenty”. Typical post-war pulp fare from the Archer Press stable, with William Newton under one of his various pseudonyms, and a delicious Reginald Heade cover.
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MORGAN, Charles (Charles Langbridge), 1894-1958 : THE FOUNTAIN.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1932. First edition. A great success in its day and winner of the Hawthornden Prize. Morgan draws on his Great War experiences for a subtle and ethereal love story – a British officer interned in a castle, a Dutch aristocrat, and his English step-daughter married to a German officer. “The Fountain is written as beautifully as it is possible for a book to be” (John Bayley, in The London Review of Books, 7th February 1985).
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MORRISON, Arthur (Arthur George), 1863-1945 : TALES OF MEAN STREETS : LIZERUNT : SQUIRE NAPPER : WITHOUT VISIBLE MEANS : THREE ROUNDS AND OTHERS.
London : Methuen & Co., 1894. First edition. Morrison’s extraordinary vision of the late Victorian mean streets of the East End of London – “Unquestionably an achievement of art ... something more than remarkable. The tune is new in the sense in which the new woman, and the new drama, and the new hedonism, and the other clamant bores of the period are not new ... It is akin to a shock, to a sudden gust of east wind. But to those who care for all humanity ... it should be something like a godsend” (Pall Mall Gazette, 19th November 1894).
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OLIPHANT, Laurence, 1829-1888 : TRAITS AND TRAVESTIES : SOCIAL AND POLITICAL.
Edinburgh & London : William Blackwood & Sons, 1882. First edition. Oliphant in top form with a dozen essays, sketches and stories of a gently satirical turn – “A Turkish Effendi on Christendom and Islam”, “Moral Reflections by a Japanese Traveller”, “The Autobiography of a Joint-Stock Company”, “The Newest American Railroad”, “A New Method of Social Evolution”, “Knight-Errantry in the Nineteenth Century”, etc. “A more thoroughly enjoyable book has not appeared in many a long day” (Morning Post, 19th August 1882).
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PALGRAVE, Francis Turner, 1824-1897 – editor : THE GOLDEN TREASURY OF THE BEST SONGS AND LYRICAL POEMS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
Cambridge : Macmillan & Co., 1861. First edition : one of the 2,000 copies of the first impression, with the roman rather than gothic half-title, just four notes on p.323, etc. The original appearance of a perennial favourite – close on 300 of the finest poems in the language from seventy-five or so poets – from Sir Thomas Wyatt, Marlowe and Shakespeare, to Shelley and Keats. With a preface and some extensive notes by Palgrave.
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PARROTT, Ursula (Katherine Ursula), 1899-1957 : EX-WIFE.
London : Brentano, (1929). First British edition. A sensational and scandalous first novel, first published anonymously in New York earlier the same year, and soon turned into a film as “The Divorcee” (1930), for which Norma Shearer won an Academy Award for best actress. A candid, outspoken, and partly autobiographical look at the illusive freedom of young women in the aftermath of the Great War and the giddiness of the roaring ‘twenties. Set in a New York world of night-clubs and speakeasies, with illuminating references to the authors of the day – Galsworthy, Wells and Michael Arlen (the author had spent some time in London). “Women used to have status, a relative security. Now they have the status of any prostitute, success while their looks hold out. If the next generation of women have any sense, they’ll dynamite the statue of Mrs. Pankhurst, and start a crusade for the return of chivalry”. Ursula Parrott herself had been divorced in 1928 – and was again in 1932, 1938 and 1944. Nine of her other novels and short stories were also made into films, including “Strangers May Kiss”, “Next Time We Love” and “There’s Always Tomorrow”.
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PARSONS, Thomas, 1838-1926 : THE CHRONICLES OF CLAPHAM (CLAPHAM COMMON) : BEING A SELECTION FROM THE REMINISCENCES OF THOMAS PARSONS, SOMETIME MEMBER OF THE CLAPHAM ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY; TOGETHER WITH NUMEROUS ILLUSTRATIONS FROM DRAWINGS & PHOTOGRAPHS, AND AN INTRODUCTION & SUNDRY ADDITIONS IN THE FORM OF APPENDICES BY J. H. MICHAEL BURGESS. F.R.G.S.
London : privately printed by A. V. Huckle & Son, The Ramsden Press, (1929). First edition. A well-illustrated and very attractively produced tour of Clapham and its older houses, former residents, etc., with appendices including material on the Windmill Inn, sports and pastimes – cricket, golf, etc., the ponds, the flora and fauna, the geology, fossils, the wells, etc. Neatly inserted is a single page typed letter on headed notepaper, signed by the editor J. H. Michael Burgess, thanking the recipient for ordering a copy of the book, etc.
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PENNANT, Thomas, 1726-1798 : THE HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES OF LONDON.
London : for J. Coxhead, 1813. A slightly revised and fully illustrated version of Pennant’s “Some Account of London”, originally published in 1790 – a popular London history compiled by the Welsh naturalist and traveller – “much more palatable than the usual antiquarian stodge” (Adams). Pennant’s discursive approach, “composed from the observations of perhaps half my life”, takes in a variety of topics, including antiquities, archery, bagnios, breweries, burials, coffins, duels, fires, wines and much else.
RENDELL, Ruth (Ruth Barbara), 1930-2015 : ONE ACROSS, TWO DOWN.
London : Hutchinson & Co. (Publishers), (1971). First edition. Crossword addict Stanley Manning has his eyes on his wife’s inheritance from his hated mother-in-law — “a man dominated by greed, who discovers, as his nerve goes, that a harmless hobby may become an over-ruling obsession”.
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“SARTO, Ben” : TOO BAD FOR SUSIE.
[Leicester] : Hermitage Publications, . First edition. Susie escapes from the white slave traffic of Soho, but Detective Officer Maurice, Special Branch, tracks her down via an aunt in Edgbaston to an estate agent’ s office in Birmingham. It is a question of murder. “Ben Sarto” was the regular pseudonym of Frank Dubrez Fawcett (1891-1968), but it is not at all clear whether the four extremely rare Sarto titles published by Hermitage in 1947-1948 and distributed by Thorpe & Porter were actually by him.
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SCHLESINGER, Max, 1822-1881 : SAUNTERINGS IN AND ABOUT LONDON.
London : Nathaniel Cooke, 1853. First edition in English of this amiable and much-quoted primary source on Victorian London. An acute overseas visitor shines a light on London street life, the London squares, life on the Thames, the London police, Newgate, the Post Office, the London of fogs and gaslight, the City, the Bank of England, Hyde Park, the haunts of fashion, the newspapers and periodicals, the theatres, and much else. Originally published as "Wanderungen durch London" (1852-1853) and here in a translation by Otto von Wenckstern (1819-1869), translator of Goethe, writer on slavery, the Schleswig-Holstein question, etc.
SCOTT, Paul (Paul Mark), 1920-1978 : A DIVISION OF THE SPOILS : A NOVEL.
London : William Heinemann, (1975). First edition. The final volume of Scott’s “Jewel in the Crown” quartet – the British Raj moves inexorably towards its end, the horrors of partition, etc. “Is there nothing more gullible in the whole animal world than a human being? One has this hysterical belief in the non-recurrence of the abysmal, I suppose. One always imagines one has reached the nadir and that the only possible next move is up and out”.
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SNOW, C.P. (Charles Percy Snow, 1st Baron), 1905-1980 : THE LIGHT AND THE DARK : A NOVEL.
London : Faber & Faber, (1947). First edition. The scarce second novel in the “Strangers and Brothers” series – aristocracy and academe 1935-1943 – a gifted young scholar who has everything except happiness.
SNOW, C.P. (Charles Percy Snow, 1st Baron), 1905-1980 : TIME OF HOPE : A NOVEL.
London : Faber & Faber, (1949). First edition. The elusive third novel in the “Strangers and Brothers” series, although the first in terms of chronology – the early life of Lewis Eliot, from an impoverished upbringing in a provincial town to youthful success and failure 1914-1933. “A brilliant, penetrating and absorbing novel, far out of the common run” (Illustrated London News, 15th October 1949).
SNOW, C.P. (Charles Percy Snow, Baron), 1905-1980 : THE MASTERS.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1951. First edition. Set in Cambridge in 1937 as the college prepares to elect a new master. Politics and intrigue at High Table. The seminal fourth book in the “Strangers and Brothers” sequence. “First and foremost, quite unreasonably gripping ... the most dramatic of the writer’s novels, and I think the best as a whole” (Illustrated London News, 25th August 1951).
STOCKWELL, Gail : THE EMBARRASSED MURDERER.
London : John Lane, The Bodley Head, (1938). First British edition. The second of the author’s murder mysteries – set in New York. “Three murders at the rate of half a crown apiece is good value for money, and those who demand tales of sudden death for their entertainment will welcome ‘The Embarrassed Murderer’ ... if only for the authoress’s prodigality ... [but] Miss Stockwell’s ‘thriller’ has more to recommend it than generosity in the matter of corpses, however, for it is one of the best pieces of detective fiction I have read recently ... each of [the murders] is closely related to the elusive ‘perfect crime’ ... For crime fiction this gets top marks” (Western Morning News, 9th November 1938).
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STOPPARD, Tom (Sir Thomas), 1937- : DIRTY LINEN AND NEW-FOUND-LAND.
New York : Grove Press, (1976). First American edition. Signed by Tom Stoppard on the front free endpaper. Interlinked plays always performed together – sexual indiscretion in parliamentary places – “Tom Stoppard again unrolls a dazzling carpet of words to provide us with a joyous evening. They are the happiest 85 minutes available in the West End just now. Inspired fantasy, blissful entertainment!” – Felix Barker on the London production, with Luan Peters, Edward de Souza, Peter Bowles, etc.
THORNBURY, Walter, 1828-1876 : HAUNTED LONDON.
London : Hurst & Blackett, 1865. First edition. “This book deals not so much with the London of the ghost-stories ... as with the London consecrated by manifold traditions – a city every street and alley of which teems with interesting associations, every paving-stone of which marks, as it were, the abiding-place of some ancient legend or biographical story; in short this London of the present haunted by the memories of the past”. With separate chapters on Charing Cross, Drury Lane, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Long Acre, St. Giles, St. Martin’s Lane, the Savoy, Somerset House, the Strand, Temple Bar, etc., and a fund of out-of-the-way anecdote of Londoners past.
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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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TROLLOPE, Anthony, 1815-1882 : MARION FAY.
London : Chapman & Hall, 1882. First edition. An uncommon late Trollope title – love, marriage, politics and class divisions. Lady Frances Trafford falls for a post-office clerk, her brother, Lord Hampstead, pays court to Marion Fay, a humble Quaker. “A course (two courses indeed) of true love that does not run quite smooth, a strong contrast of polite and by no means polite society, a Government office and its humours, some hunting scenes, an anonymous letter, the vain endeavours of crabbed age to control generous youth – these are the ingredients of ‘Marion Fay’, and it must be confessed that most of them have met before inside covers bearing Mr. Trollope’s respected name. But what of that?” (Pall Mall Gazette, 22nd June 1882).
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WAVELL, A.P. (Archibald Percival, First Earl), 1883-1950 : OTHER MEN’S FLOWERS : AN ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY COMPILED BY A. P. WAVELL (FIELD-MARSHAL VISCOUNT WAVELL G.C.B., G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E., C.M.G., M.C.)
London : Jonathan Cape, (1944). The first edition of this enduringly popular anthology – the best of English poetry – all of which, it is said, Wavell knew by heart. Includes around 180 poems drawn from all periods and arranged thematically – “Music, Mystery and Magic”; “Good Fighting”; “Love and All That”; “The Call of the Wild”; “Conversation Pieces”; “The Lighter Side”; “Hymns of Hate”; “Ragbag”, and “Last Post”, each with an introduction by Wavell.
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WELLS, H.G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946 : ANN VERONICA : A MODERN LOVE STORY.
London : T. Fisher Unwin, 1909. First edition. A young woman rejects suburban conventions for science, socialism, suffragettes and living in sin – and Wells fictionalises his relationship with his mistress Amber Reeves (1887-1981), who gave birth to his daughter later in 1909. Macmillan flatly declined to publish the book and Canon Lambert railed “I would just as soon send a daughter of mine to a house infected with diphtheria or typhoid fever as put that book into her hands”.
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WELLS, H.G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946 : MEN LIKE GODS.
London : Cassell & Co., (1923). First edition. Journalist from Sydenham and other earthlings find themselves in Utopia, an evolved civilisation in a world without government or religion, “as clean as starlight and as sweet as cold water on a dusty day” – “Let it be said at once, in this book Mr. Wells is at his best. Indeed, if one had to name the novel that represents his many-sided genius most completely, one could hardly fail to name ‘Men Like Gods’“ (Sylvia Lynd in the Daily News, 8th March 1923).
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WILLIAMS, Montagu (Montagu Stephen), 1835-1892 : ROUND LONDON : DOWN EAST AND UP WEST.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1892. First edition. Montagu Williams Q.C., leading barrister, known in the East End as “the poor man’s magistrate”, and variously schoolmaster, soldier, actor, dramatist and journalist, with a fine series of lively essays (all based on true stories) portraying life across Victorian London – down east with East End Shows, Match Girls, Sclater Street Birds, Griddlers or Street Singers, the London Hospital, Clerkenwell Green, Ratcliff Highway, Sunday at the East End (including cricket in Bethnal Green), Burglarious Bill, From the East End to Ramsgate, etc. – and up west with Climbing the Ladder (enter plutocracy), Descending the Ladder, Modern Stockbrokers, Huckstering Hymen (the marriage market), the Company Promoter, Things Theatrical, Covent Garden, Floss & Floss (lawyers), the Road to Ruin, Moneylenders, Talent in Tatters, and the London Season. With a preface by Charles Dickens Jr.
WODEHOUSE, P.G. (Sir Pelham Grenville), 1881-1975 : IF I WERE YOU.
London : Herbert Jenkins, (1931). First British edition. Anthony, Fifth Earl of Droitwich, is poised to marry Violet Waddington, the soup heiress – but then his old nurse turns up to expose the skeleton in the family cupboard. Butlers, aunts, barbers and socialists. First published three weeks earlier in New York.
WODEHOUSE, P.G. (Sir Pelham Grenville), 1881-1975 : BACHELORS ANONYMOUS.
London : Barrie & Jenkins, (1973). First edition. The sequel to “Pearls, Girls and Monty Bodkin”. Ivor Llewellyn, much married and currently divorced head of a Hollywood film studio, returns to London.
WOLFE, Tom (Thomas Kennerly), 1931-2018 : FROM BAUHAUS TO OUR HOUSE.
New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, (1981). First edition. Wolfe on modern architecture – smart, well-researched, and devastating – “Every child goes to school in a building that looks like a duplicating-machine replacement parts wholesale distribution warehouse ... Every new $900,000 summer house ... has so many pipe railings, ramps, hob-tread metal spiral stairways, sheets of industrial plate glass, banks of tungsten-halogen lamps, and white cylindrical shapes, it looks like an insecticide refinery”, etc.
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