ASH RARE BOOKS – ANTIQUARIAN RARE AND FINE BOOKS – FIRST EDITIONS – ANTIQUE MAPS AND PRINTS
ASH RARE BOOKS
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AMBLER, Eric (Eric Clifford), 1909-1998 : THE DARK FRONTIER.
London : Hodder & Stoughton, (1936). First edition. His uncommon first novel – gripping from the very first page (which concludes with a footnote invoking the Official Secrets Act). “A new writer of international spy stories has arrived ... The central character is Professor Henry Barstow, a highly strung savant ... Following a motoring accident, he takes on the identity of the colourful hero of the thriller he had previously picked up. Then, posing as his real self, he calmly accompanies the unscrupulous representative of a big armament firm to a Continental country, ostensibly with object of helping to acquire information about an atomic bomb ... an ingenious story, cleverly written, and cloaked with such verisimilitude that it does not appear to be far-fetched. More will be heard of Eric Ambler” (Mid Sussex Times, 17th November 1936).
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BANKS, Charles Burt, 1840-1916 : ALL SORTS AND CONDITIONS OF WOMEN. A ROMANCE OF THE EAST END.
London : Elliot Stock, 1899 [but 1898]. First edition. An extremely rare novel by a well-known London journalist – the philanthropic tale of a rich young woman and a young curate (with a wicked stepmother) who found a club to bring succour to the women of the East End. Meanwhile another clergyman jumps into the canal to rescue a drunken factory girl about to commit suicide, plus “a burglary, two trials, several love affairs, not to mention a mysterious Egyptian lady of the name of Noadiah Medina, who works in the slums” (The Scotsman, 14th December 1898).
BARNES, Julian, 1946- : METROLAND.
London : Jonathan Cape, (1980). First edition. Signed by Julian Barnes on the title-page. His first novel – a passage to adulthood and marriage in Betjeman’s Metroland, via a spell in Paris with the exciting Annick during les événements of 1968. Filmed in 1997 with Christian Bale and Emily Watson.
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BEERBOHM, Max (Sir Henry Maximilian), 1872-1956 : THE WORKS OF MAX BEERBOHM.
New York : Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1896. First edition : precedes the London edition by four days. Beerbohm’s first regularly published book – “Dandies and Dandies”, “The Pervasion of Rouge” and five further essays which immediately established his reputation – “These papers are really very brilliant, and almost every page would yield a quotation worth giving” (York Herald, 17th June 1896).
BEERBOHM, Max (Sir Henry Maximilian), 1872-1956 : AROUND THEATRES.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1930. First separate and first trade edition. Some 150 of Beerbohm’s sparkling theatre reviews written for the “Saturday Review” between 1898 and 1910. Commencing with “Why I Ought Not to Have Become a Dramatic Critic”, we have Beerbohm laced with wit and charm on Cyrano de Bergerac, Macbeth, Hamlet (Princess of Denmark), much else on Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw, Punitive Pantomime, First Nights, Last Acts, Pinero, Wilde, The Invariable Badness of Amateur Acting, Kipling, Music Hall, Sarah Bernhardt, Dan Leno, Conrad, Henry Irving, with also much on Ibsen, Henry James, Granville Barker, J. M. Barrie, W. S. Gilbert, and so many more. Originally published as volumes eight and nine of the strictly limited edition “Works” published in London 1922-1928, but here with a fresh preface for a more generally available edition – “Any one who looks into these pages will find, besides many remarks that are relevant to drama anywhere and at any time, many remarks that are relevant to life only. And so perhaps Mr. Knopf’s faith in the book will not be punished”.
BENNETT, Charles (Charles Henry), 1829-1867 : LONDON PEOPLE : SKETCHED FROM LIFE.
London : Smith, Elder & Co., 1863. First edition. Essays and sketches of Londoners “designed to exhibit faithful delineations of physiognomies characteristic of London people as they appear, not aiming at humorous exaggeration on the one hand or at ideal grace on the other. The faces and figures were drawn from life in every instance”. The Londoners of the law-courts, with judge, jury, attorneys, etc.; the Londoners of the railway excursion; the Londoners of the theatre; the Londoners of Covent Garden Market; the Londoners of a working-class court; and the Londoners of Belgravia. Most of the material originally appeared in the “Cornhill Magazine”, with the text of three of the six essays written by John Hollingshead (1827-1904).
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BETJEMAN, John (Sir John), 1906-1984 : JOHN BETJEMAN’S COLLECTED POEMS.
London : John Murray, (1960). A handsomely bound reprint of the first collected edition of Betjeman, originally published in 1958. Also contains a number of poems not previously published in book form. Some 120 poems, including most of his most famous, compiled, edited and introduced by the Earl of Birkenhead.
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BINDLOSS, Harold (Harold Edward), 1866-1945 : THE CONCESSION-HUNTERS.
London : Chatto & Windus, 1902. First edition. An early Bindloss, an imperial romance set in West Africa – an area well-known to the author and the subject of his “In the Niger Country” (1898). An adventurer discovers a mahogany forest – desolate outposts, ju-ju, jungle-fever - somewhere perhaps between Conrad and Rider Haggard.
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BOWEN, Emanuel, fl.1714-1767 : AN ACCURATE MAP OF THE COUNTY OF KENT DIVIDED INTO ITS LATHES, AND SUBDIVIDED INTO HUNDREDS. DRAWN FROM SURVEYS, AND MOST APPROVED MODERN MAPS, WITH VARIOUS ADDITIONAL IMPROVEMENTS : ILLUSTRATED WITH HISTORICAL EXTRACTS RELATIVE TO THE AIR, SOIL, NATURAL PRODUCE, MANUFACTURES, TRADE AND PRESENT STATE OF ITS CITIES & PRINCIPAL TOWNS.
[London : for Carington Bowles, ca.1765]. A large and handsome eighteenth-century map of the county on a scale of three-eighths of an inch to the mile (1:168960). Compiled by Emanuel Bowen, Geographer to George II, and originally produced in 1751 for a series of maps separately sold from 1749 on and eventually published as “The Large English Atlas” (London 1760 and later editions). The present example dates from the 1760s – after the date at which Carington Bowles took over the shop at St. Paul’s from his uncle, Thomas Bowles. The particular charm of this series of maps resides in the numerous historical and geographical notes that fill up blank spaces and corners – with notes in this case on cloth manufacture at Cranbrook, the waters at Tunbridge Wells, Romney Marsh, Hythe, Appledore, Hawkhurst, Deal Castle, Dover Harbour, the enlargement of the harbour at Ramsgate, Reculver Market, Rochester, Maidstone, Canterbury, Faversham, Gravesend, Woolwich, Greenwich, Deptford and much else. With a finely engraved dedication panel (to Lionel Sackville, Duke of Dorset) and a thematic cartouche of hops, fish, lobsters, baskets, fruit, anchors, cannon, swords, etc., in the rococo style of the period. A separate inset gives a chart of the Downs, Goodwin Sands, etc.
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BOWMAN, Anne, 1796-1886 : TOM AND THE CROCODILES.
London : George Routledge & Sons, 1867 [i.e.1866]. First edition. One of a number of tales of derring-do written by the bookseller Anne Bowman of Richmond (Yorkshire) either side of 1860 – “A new work, from the pen of Miss Anne Bowman, full of adventurous excitement and hair-breadth escapes from all kinds of peril. A family are shipped from London to a West India island, where they pass through a never-ending series of vicissitudes enough to daunt the energies of the strongest amongst the members of it. No one can complain of monotony who peruses these spirit-stirring pages” (Bell’s Life in London, 24th November 1866).
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BOYD, William, 1952- : STARS AND BARS.
London : Hamish Hamilton, (1984). First edition. Signed by William Boyd on the title-page. Henderson Dores – shy, English, self-conscious and nearly forty – stands worrying in the middle of Park Avenue, New York City. Filmed in 1988 with Daniel Day-Lewis.
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BOYD, William, 1952- : NAT TATE : AN AMERICAN ARTIST 1928-1960.
Cambridge : 21 Publishing, (1998). First edition. Signed by William Boyd on the title-page. A biography of the New Jersey artist Nat Tate, who contrived to destroy almost his entire output of Abstract Expressionism before killing himself in 1960. Except that the entire story is a fiction, as the name (think National Gallery, Tate) might suggest. A celebrated hoax, decked out with blurbs from David Bowie and Gore Vidal, both of whom were in on the prank, which managed to fool and embarrass a surprising number of “experts” unwilling to admit they had never heard of Tate.
BOYD, William, 1952- : FASCINATION.
London : Hamish Hamilton, (2004). First edition. Signed by William Boyd on the title-page. A collection of sixteen short stories of love and fascination, some in experimental form, and ranging widely in time and place. “His best writing, observing tiny moments of love, lust and epiphany with extraordinary sensitivity” (The Spectator).
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BOYD, William, 1952- : BAMBOO : NON-FICTION 1978-2004.
London : Hamish Hamilton, (2005). First edition. Signed by William Boyd on the title-page. An extensive collection of Boyd’s non-fiction – eleven more-or-less autobiographical pieces, followed by forty essays on writers – Boyd on Auden, Ballard, Dickens, Fowles, Golding, Spark, Vonnegut, Waugh, etc.; twenty-one pieces on artists – Braque, Bonnard, Grosz, Hopper, Picasso, etc; eleven pieces on Africa; twelve on film; twelve on television; and twenty-four on an eclectic selection of people and places. “In all its richness, diversity and idiosyncrasy – a beguiling intellectual autobiography of one of our most important novelists”.
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BUNTING, Basil (Basil Cheesman), 1900-1985 : COLLECTED POEMS.
London : Fulcrum Press, (1968). First edition : the trade issue. “These verses were written here and there now and then over forty years and four continents. Heaped together they make a book”. The first collected and readily accessible edition of Bunting’s work. Over sixty poems, including “Briggflatts”, “I am Agog for Foam”, “Gin the Goodwife Stint”, “The Orotova Road”, “This I Write, Mix Ink with Tears”, etc.
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BURKE, Thomas (Sidney Thomas), 1887-1945 : THE REAL EAST END.
London : Constable & Co., (1932). First edition. Burke in familiar territory in the dark lanes and byways of East End London – dismissing the stereotypes and pointing up the colour, the people, the river and the commerce – the book brought magnificently to life by the atmospheric lithographs of the bohemian Pearl Binder (1904-1990), later Lady Polly Elwyn-Jones – with sketches from her studio, studies of Aldgate, Wapping, Brick Lane, etc.
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BURNETT, Frances Hodgson, 1849-1924 : THE SECRET GARDEN.
London : William Heinemann, 1911. First edition. Mary, Dickon, Colin, wheelchair, garden – one of the classic children’s books of the twentieth century, the subject of multiple film and television adaptations.
CANETTI, Elias, 1905-1994 : AUTO DA FÉ.
London : Jonathan Cape, (1946). First edition in English of the banned “Die Blendung” (1935), his first and only novel, translated from the German (under Canetti’s personal supervision) by Dame Cicely Veronica Wedgwood (1910-1997). A Head without a World, Headless World and The World in the Head.
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CARDUS, Neville (Sir John Frederick Neville), 1888-1975 : DAYS IN THE SUN : A CRICKETER’S JOURNAL.
London : Grant Richards, 1924. First edition. “A rather freely compiled journal of happy experiences that have come my way” – forty or so exquisite essays and articles – the immortal Cardus on cricket grounds and their characters, on Frank Woolley, on J. T. Tyldesley, on A. W. Carr, on Spofforth, on fashions in the game, on J. W. Hearne, on Douglas, on Chapman, on Hendren, on George Gunn, on Herbert Strudwick, and on much else besides. “This is far and away the best book on cricket that has been published for years” (Western Mail, 21st August 1924).
CHATWIN, Bruce (Charles Bruce), 1940-1989 : THE SONGLINES.
London : Jonathan Cape, (1987). First edition. “In Alice Springs – a grid of scorching streets where men in long white socks were forever getting in and out of Land Cruisers – I met a Russian who was mapping the sacred sites of the Aboriginals”. His finest work – a novel of ideas – a “profound journey into the geography of the mind”.
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CHRISTIE, Agatha (Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa), 1890-1976 : SAD CYPRESS.
London : Collins for The Crime Club, (1940). First edition. A young and beautiful woman on trial for an apparently open-and-shut case of murder – Poirot sits in court. “All you need to know here is that Agatha has triumphantly done it again. The same infernal ingenuity, the same devilish double-crossing, the same old new twist, the same punch in the last pages. Be thankful she doesn’t take to murder in real earnest” (Daily Herald, 18th April 1940).
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[COOKE, John, 1731-1810 – publisher] : VIEW OF LONDON FROM GREENWICH PARK.
[London : John Cooke, 1777]. A stylish and elegant eighteenth-century antique print – a distant prospect of London looking towards St. Paul's across the roof-tops of Greenwich, the view taken from a fashionable vantage point at the top of Greenwich Park. Originally produced for Cooke’s part-work publication Walter Harrison, “A New and Universal History, Description and Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster” (London : 1775-1777).
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[COOPER, James Fenimore, 1789-1851] : THE PATHFINDER: OR, THE INLAND SEA.
London : Richard Bentley, 1840. First edition. The fourth of the Leatherstocking Tales (although the third in terms of chronology) – the Pathfinder (Hawkeye) escorts a young woman to the shores of Lake Ontario. “We are prepared to meet another escape through the woods, like that in ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ – another race over the waters, as in former sea romances – or another land siege, like the fearful leaguer of the blockhouse ... but in place of any one of these stirring passages, Mr. Cooper gives us all three. The interest of the story is unflaggingly maintained” (The Athenæum). “The most beautiful and natural, the simplest, the truest, and owing the least to mere art – of all Mr. Cooper’s novels” (The Atlas).
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“CRISPIN, Edmund” – [MONTGOMERY, Robert Bruce, 1921-1978] : THE CASE OF THE GILDED FLY.
London : Victor Gollancz, 1944. First edition. His uncommon first book – later published in the USA as “Obsequies at Oxford”. Gervase Fen making his first appearance in a witty and classical locked-room mystery with some theatrical types in wartime Oxford. “Whatever his true name is, he is most certainly a gentleman who knows Oxford backwards, forwards, and inside out. For his murders take place in the colleges, hotels and theatres of that city, and although these are in every case fictional, the calmer atmosphere of the Senior Common Room and the Porter’s Lodge is unmistakeably authentic” (The Sphere, 11th March 1944).
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“DELANEY, Mickey” : I GO FOR THAT.
London : Milestone Publications, (1953). First edition. “‘I’ve come to have a look at your birthmark, babe. Get your clothes off fast ...’. This is the typical approach of Brett Stoggart, special agent, counter-espionage, F.B.I. Especially when he is looking for a highly coveted formula ... Here is a supercharged case of mistaken identities, conflicting loyalties, involving dangerous young women who can be secretive, yet generous to a fault. In fact, several faults”.
[DICKENS, Charles (Charles Culliford Boz), 1837-1896] : DICKENS’S DICTIONARY OF LONDON, 1894-1895. (SIXTEENTH YEAR.) : AN UNCONVENTIONAL HANDBOOK.
London : For the Proprietors by J. Smith, (1894). The sixteenth appearance of this splendidly informal handbook produced by the younger Charles Dickens, eldest son of the novelist. Sixteen pages of maps are followed by a mass of detailed, practical and sometimes quirky information – a calendar of historical and forthcoming events (May 1894 to April 1895), athletics, auctions, banks, bargains, beggars, bicycling, bohemia, bric-a-brac, cabs, chess clubs, chops and steaks, dog stealers, fish dinners, fogs, football, hospitals, hotels, ladies shopping, lodgings, maps, newspapers, nuisances, omnibus routes and colours, poultry and fancy fowls, railways, restaurants, servants, sharpers, shoeblacks, Sundays, suppers, vegetarian restaurants, etc. With an extensive table of distances.
DICKENS, Charles (Charles John Huffam), 1812-1870) : DOMBEY AND SON; OR, GOOD MRS. BROWN, THE CHILD STEALER. A DRAMA IN TWO ACTS [DROP-HEAD TITLE].
[London : George Purkess, 1847 (or later)]. No IV in the Pictorial Penny Plays series. Dickens’ novel appeared in monthly instalments between October 1846 and April 1848, but was such a success that long before its conclusion – and long before the conclusion was known – it was adapted for the stage by Thomas Proclus Taylor (1816-1852) and staged by Frederick Fox Cooper (1806-1879) at the Royal Strand Theatre, opening on 2nd August 1847. The original cast featured Cooper’s son, the comic actor Harwood Cooper (1826-1905), in the titular role of Good Mrs Brown. Published by George Purkess (1801-1859), whose sons and successors Joseph & Henry Purkess continued to advertise thirty-six of these attractive Pictorial Penny Plays (including adaptations of Oliver Twist and Little Dorrit) as “always in print” as late as 1872.
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DOBSON, Austin (Henry Austin), 1840-1921 : DE LIBRIS : PROSE AND VERSE.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1908. First edition. Twenty-three essays and poems on bookish themes – Some Books and their Associations; The Passionate Printer; The Happy Printer; Two Modern Illustrators (Kate Greenaway and Hugh Thomson); Samuel Rogers; Samuel Pepys; Thackeray’s Esmond; Milton; Fresh Facts about Fielding, etc. “To appreciate the book, for itself, lock, stock and barrel – or, rather, binding, matter, and print – it is good to feed a little on the literary food of Austin Dobson ... It is a pleasure reflected and enjoyed. Mr Dobson’s affection for books is breathed from this volume” (Woolwich Gazette, 13th November 1908).
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DOYLE, James E. (James William Edmund), 1822-1893 : A CHRONICLE OF ENGLAND : B.C. 55 – A.D. 1485.
London : Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, 1864. First edition. The antiquary and illustrator James Doyle (brother of Richard, uncle of Arthur Conan) compiles and illustrates a sumptuous chronicle of England from the invasion of Julius Caesar to the death of Richard III. Long celebrated as perhaps the finest example of Victorian colour-printing, with the glowing colours of Doyle’s illustrations engraved and printed by Edmund Evans (1826-1905) in eight to ten overlays on a hand-press – “as bright as if they had just been painted” (ODNB) – and, as Evans later recalled, “the most carefully executed book I have ever printed”.
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DURRELL, Lawrence (Lawrence George), 1912-1990 : [THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET].
London : Faber & Faber, 1957-1960. A first edition set of the four separately published novels – “Justine” (1957), “Balthazar” (1958), “Mountolive” (1958) and “Clea” (1960). One of the most memorable and extraordinary performances in twentieth-century fiction – “a four-decker novel whose form is based on the relativity proposition”.
“ELIOT, George” – [EVANS, Marian, 1819-1880] : THE LEGEND OF JUBAL AND OTHER POEMS.
Edinburgh & London : William Blackwood & Sons, 1874. First edition. The title poem and nine further poems, including “Brother and Sister”, “Stradivarius”, “Two Lovers”, etc. – “A very welcome addition to our poetic literature, and sustains in a spirited way the noble reputation won by the author of ‘Romola’, as one of our very best caterers for mental and moral food, fancies that soothe, and thoughts that exalt, refine, and purify” (Morning Post, 6th July 1874).
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“ELLISON, Earl” : DON’T MOURN FOR ME.
London : John Spencer & Co., [ca.1953]. First edition. Wartime secret service operator down on his luck meets a mystery blonde, some ruthless types interested in atomic secrets, the unlucky gangster Lucky Fara, etc. Earl Ellison was a house-name used by at least half a dozen writers, including Sydney J. Bounds, Norman Lazenby, and Lisle Willis.
EVELYN, John, 1620-1706 : MEMOIRS OF JOHN EVELYN, ESQ. F.R.S. ... COMPRISING HIS DIARY, FROM 1641 TO 1705-6, AND A SELECTION OF HIS FAMILIAR LETTERS ...
London : Henry Colburn, 1827. New and revised edition. Second only to his friend Samuel Pepys as the key diarist of his time – John Evelyn, scholar, man of science, garden designer and architect, founding Fellow of the Royal Society – the execution of Charles I, across Europe in the 1640s, Oliver Cromwell, Charles II, Prince Rupert, the Great Plague, the Great Fire of London, the Dutch War, Robert Boyle, all the great and good of his era, and much else besides. Originally published in two volumes in 1818, edited by William Bray (1736-1832), but here revised and expanded.
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FITCHETT, W.H. (William Henry), 1845-1928 : WELLINGTON’S MEN : SOME SOLDIER AUTOBIOGRAPHIES.
London : Smith, Elder & Co., 1900. First edition. “In the course of his studies in military history, Mr. Fitchett has come across four autobiographies by soldiers who served under Wellington – Captain Kincaid, Sergeant Anton, Rifleman Harris, and Cavalie (afterwards General) Mercer ... fighting men of the highest quality. Kincaid led a forlorn hope at Cuidad Rodrigo. Harrison was one of the unconquerable, much enduring rearguard in Moore’s retreat to Corunna. Anton shared in the wild fighting of the 42nd at Toulouse. Mercer fought his battery at Waterloo ... We have every reason to be grateful to Mr. Fitchett for having unearthed them, and for giving us now, in one handy volume, their most salient passages, connected by a thread of narrative and comment”.
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GOULD, F.J. (Frederick James), 1855-1938 : THE AGNOSTIC ISLAND.
London : Watts & Co., . First edition. An overtly polemical novel from the man credited as the first to use “humanist” in its modern sense – “Little more than a pamphlet; but a clever pamphlet, it must be confessed. Its purpose is to show the superiority of the Agnostic position over that of the Christian ... by imagining a Utopia, in New Guinea, inhabited by Agnostic colonists, who are as near moral perfection as it seems possible for mortal man to get. To them arrive three missionaries sent out to convert the Agnostics ... Two retire and the third is perverted by a charming female Agnostic” (Yorkshire Post, 29th July 1891).
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GRAVES, Robert (Robert von Ranke), 1895-1985 : WHIPPERGINNY.
London : William Heinemann, (1923). First edition : [one of 1,000 copies]. An important early collection, with Graves’s introductory note on their genesis. “The strange word, whipperginny, is that of an obsolete card game, and is used to describe the mood of this book, expressed in fifty-one ingenious poems, each instinct with an idea intended to show an increasing detachment from a ‘painful war neurosis’“ (The Graphic, 24th March 1923). Includes “A Lover since Childhood”, “Children of Darkness”, “Christmas Eve”, “The Turn of a Page”, etc.
GREENE, Graham (Henry Graham), 1904-1991 : IT’S A BATTLEFIELD.
London : William Heinemann, (1934). First edition. Greene’s first overtly political novel – “the injustice of man’s justice” – in some sense an inversion of the traditional detective story, as a communist London bus-driver awaits his hanging. “Mr Greene has a reputation for unconventional composition ... he has adopted methods more familiar in the cinema than in fiction. He uses close-ups and long shots and panoramas, and the action is seen through the camera-eye of each spectator in turn” (The Scotsman, 15th February 1934).
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GREENE, Graham (Henry Graham), 1904-1991 : THE END OF THE AFFAIR.
London : William Heinemann, (1951). First edition. Adultery and broken hearts in Clapham – the basis of both the 1955 film with Deborah Kerr and Van Johnson, and the 1999 film with Julianne Moore and Ralph Fiennes.
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HARDY, Thomas, 1840-1928 : THE WOODLANDERS.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1887. First edition : one of just 860 copies in the primary binding. The story of Grace Melbury, the faithful Giles Winterborne, and the faithless Edred Fitzpiers. Controversial for its time, but “his loveliest if not his finest book” (Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch) and “the most beautiful and most noble of Hardy’s novels” (William Lyon Phelps) – and indeed Hardy’s own favourite – “On taking up ‘The Woodlanders’ and reading it after many years, I like it as a story best of all”.
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HARRIS, 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).
HOWELL, James, 1594?-1666 : LONDINOPOLIS; AN HISTORICALL DISCOURSE OR PERLUSTRATION OF THE CITY OF LONDON, THE IMPERIAL CHAMBER, AND CHIEF EMPORIUM OF GREAT BRITAIN ...
London : by J. Streater, for Henry Twiford, George Sawbridge, Thomas Dring, and John Place, 1657. First edition. One of the earliest printed histories of London, second only to the early editions of Stow in terms of chronology. Compiled by the versatile and engaging Welsh author, royalist, politician and traveller, James Howell, after his release from a lengthy imprisonment at the time of the Interregnum. With accounts of St. Paul’s and the other ancient churches; the individual wards and precincts; the governance of the City; the walls, streets, gates and prisons; the Inns of Court; the twelve great livery companies; the company halls; the Tower, the Royal Exchange, the Guildhall and other prominent buildings; the Thames; London Bridge; the mayoralty; the city of Westminster and the Abbey; the Strand; Covent Garden; Lincoln’s Inn; Westminster Hall; Parliament, the Admiralty, etc.
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HUGHES, Ted (Edward James), 1930-1998 : WOLF-WATCHING.
[North Tawton] : Morrigu Press, (1982). First edition : one of just seventy-five numbered copies, signed by Ted Hughes. A poem hand-printed on and bound in hand-made Fabriano papers, with a colophon by Leonard Baskin. Loosely inserted are the original hand-printed press flyer for the publication and two signed autograph notes to the great poetry collector and publisher Alan Clodd (1918-2002) on Morrigu compliments slips, the first from Nicholas Hughes (Ted Hughes’ teenage son), dated 27th August 1984, offering Clodd a copy of the publication – “our best piece of work so far” – and the second from Carol Hughes (Hughes’ second wife) dated 27th September, confirming receipt of the order and the despatch of the book.
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JEFFERIES, Richard (John Richard), 1848-1887 : HODGE AND HIS MASTERS.
London : Smith, Elder & Co., 1880. First edition : one of just 1,500 sets printed. Twenty-eight classic essays – “Haymaking”, “The Fine Lady Farmer”, “An Ambitious Squire”, “The Parson’s Wife”, etc., forming “a complete account of all the elements that go to make up the agricultural population of England. We have pictures of every class who live beyond cities ... as accurate as it is artistic ... Nothing so good as ever been written on the subject, nothing in the least approaching to it” (contemporary review in The Examiner).
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JEFFERIES, Richard (John Richard), 1848-1887 : WOOD MAGIC; A FABLE.
London : Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1881. First edition : the estimated size of the edition is just 500 copies. “Some delightful reading, especially in the earlier chapters, where a brave little boy named Bevis – they give him the pet name of Sir Bevis ... spends all the days of the summer in wondrous conversations with the birds, the insects, the little beasts, hare, rabbit, squirrel, weasel, field-mouse, and others, and with the trees and flowers, and the mystic voices of the brook and the west wind, haunting the rural home of his childhood” (Illustrated London News, 20th August 1881).
JONES, Barbara (Barbara Mildred), 1912-1978 : DESIGN FOR DEATH.
London : André Deutsch, (1967). First edition. An extraordinary study – part grim, part comic – of the “beautiful, vulgar, frightening and propitiatory things that people make when confronted by that shocking and unwelcome reminder, the death of another”. With chapters on the corpse; the shroud; the coffin; the hearse; the floral tributes; printing and the word; the procession; the cemetery and the crematorium; the tomb; relics and mementoes, etc.
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KINGSLEY, Charles, 1819-1875 : HEREWARD THE WAKE, “LAST OF THE ENGLISH”.
London & Cambridge : Macmillan & Co., 1866. First edition. The last novel published by Kingsley, Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge and friend of Darwin. The final resistance against the Norman conquerors – the “splendid barbarian” and folk-hero Hereward of the Fens, son of Leofric, Earl of Mercia and Lady Godiva – and his witch-wife Torfrida, “whose true witchery lay in her intellect, her courage, and her unswerving love” (The Globe, 30th April 1866). “To lovers of the old class of reading wherein the heroic deeds of our forefathers are graphically described, no better volumes could be read” (Cheltenham Chronicle, 10th July 1866).
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LAWRENCE, D.H. (David Herbert), 1885-1930 : SONS AND LOVERS.
London : Duckworth & Co., 1913. First edition : Roberts’ variant (1), with the cancel title dated 1913. “Review copies have been noted both with the bound-in title without date and with the tipped-in title with date ... as Duckworth’s records were destroyed during the war, a final solution to these bibliographical problems may be impossible” (Roberts). “No other English novelist of our time has so great a power to translate passion into words, but that is neither the beginning nor end of his art” (London Evening Standard, 30th May 1913).
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“LE CARRÉ, John” – [CORNWELL, David John Moore, 1931-2020] : A LEGACY OF SPIES.
London : Viking, (2017). First edition : the “exclusive signed edition”, signed by John le Carré on an additional preliminary leaf dated September 2017. Both a prequel and a sequel to “The Spy who Came in from the Cold” – a swansong for George Smiley, Peter Guillam, Bill Haydon, Jim Prideaux and other memorable spies of fiction. “Poignant and brilliant” (Robert McCrum in The Guardian).
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LEAR, Edward, 1812-1888 : LAUGHABLE LYRICS : A FOURTH BOOK OF NONSENSE POEMS, SONGS, BOTANY, MUSIC &C.
London : Robert John Bush, 1877. First edition. More inspired nonsense from Edward Lear – with the present volume containing the first appearance of “The Dong with the Luminous Nose”, “The Pobble Who Has No Toes”, “The Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò”, “The Akond of Swat”, etc.
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LUCAS, St. John (St. John Welles), 1879-1934 – editor : THE OXFORD BOOK OF FRENCH VERSE : XIIIth CENTURY – XIXth CENTURY.
Oxford : At the Clarendon Press, 1908. An early reprint of the original 1907 edition. Over 300 French poems, from Froissart and his contemporaries through to Verlaine, chosen, introduced, and furnished with notes by Lucas. “This new anthology of French poetry is, in its way, a perfect gem, reflecting the highest credit ... It is, without doubt, the most complete representation of poetry that has been placed before the English public” (Daily Telegraph) – “an ideal Christmas gift” (Manchester Courier).
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LUCEY, R.M. (Roger Martin), 1871-1954 : A PROBLEM A DAY.
London : Faber & Faber, (1937). First edition. “The amusement to be obtained from a simple yet ingenious puzzle, and the pride of quickly solving it, sets up a well-being far more important in keeping the doctor away than any number of apples”. A brain-teaser (with some nice seasonal touches) for every day of the year (not forgetting leap-years) – with solutions at the end – and hints on how to tackle similar problems.
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MARSH, Ngaio (Dame Edith Ngaio), 1895-1982 : SURFEIT OF LAMPREYS [DEATH OF A PEER].
London : Collins for The Crime Club, (1941). First British edition. Chief Detective-Inspector Alleyn, Detective-Inspector Fox and the Lampreys. First published in the USA as “Death of a Peer”. “Her writing is as good as any to be found in crime fiction” (H. R. F. Keating, nominating the book as among the hundred best in all crime and mystery fiction).
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MARVELL, Andrew, 1621-1678 : THE POETICAL WORKS OF ANDREW MARVELL. WITH A MEMOIR.
Boston : Little, Brown & Co., 1866. Limited to 100 numbered copies. The first nineteenth-century and only the third collected edition of Marvell, improving on the error-strewn editions of 1726 and 1776. Poems (some in Latin, one in Greek), satires, songs, etc. The introductory life of the poet (“the best in print”) is taken from an 1844 article in the “Edinburgh Review” attributed to Henry Rogers (1806-1877). First published in this form in Boston in 1857 and not published in London until 1870.
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MASEFIELD, John (John Edward), 1878-1967 : SARD HARKER : A NOVEL.
London : William Heinemann, (1924). First edition. “A singularly interesting and well-written novel of breathless adventure ... the book is so well written, its adventures so abundant, that I would wish to end with unqualified praise and say that this should be, and will be, one of the books that all must read” (The Sphere, 8th November 1924).
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MAUGHAM, W. Somerset (William Somerset), 1874-1965 : THE RAZOR’S EDGE : A NOVEL.
London : William Heinemann, (1944). First British edition. An American airman traumatised by the Great War searches for meaning in life in Chicago, Paris and India. “Mr Somerset Maugham’s new novel ... is in some ways the most important he has written ... Do not think from all this that the novel is preachy-preachy, because it is not: it is as full of Maugham sparkle and wit, naughtiness, sex and satire as anyone could wish. My own view is that this is the best non-war novel we have had since 1939. I read it several times with deep appreciation and delight” (Aberdeen Evening Express, 20th July 1944). Filmed in 1946 with Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney and Anne Baxter (who won an Oscar), and again in 1984 with Bill Murray, Theresa Russell, Catherine Hicks, Denholm Elliott, etc. Originally published a few months earlier in the USA.
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MITFORD, Mary Russell, 1787-1855 : OUR VILLAGE: SKETCHES OF RURAL CHARACTER AND SCENERY.
London : G. & W. B. Whittaker / Geo. B. Whittaker / Whittaker, Treacher & Co., 1824-1832. First edition. A complete first edition set of the five-volume series of her much-loved and most famous work – sharp, affectionate, precise and amused sketches of village life in Regency England – “Our landlord has a stirring wife, a hopeful son, and a daughter, the belle of the village; not so pretty as the fair nymph of the shoe-shop, and far less elegant, but ten times as fine; all curl-papers in the morning, like a porcupine, all curls in the afternoon, like a poodle, with more flounces than curl-papers, and more lovers than curls ...”. Walks in the Country, A Country Cricket-Match, A Christmas Party, Christmas Amusements, The Mole-Catcher, Children of the Village, The Cribbage Players, and so much more.
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ORCZY, Baroness Emmuska Magdalena, 1865-1947 : SIR PERCY LEADS THE BAND.
London : Hodder & Stoughton, (1936). First edition. “In league with the Pimpernel are all our old friends – Lord Hastings, Sir Andrew Ffoulkes, Lord Tony and the rest. But is there also a traitor in that league of brave friends?” – the penultimate Sir Percy novel. “It is so long since I last read Baroness Orczy that I had almost forgotten how good The Scarlet Pimpernel really is ... There is no question of not enjoying Baroness Orczy” (Burton Observer, 24th September 1936).
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 : mixed issue – with the four (rather than six) notes on p.323, obviously indicating the earlier printing, but with the gothic (rather than plain) half-title. 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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PASTON FAMILY : THE PASTON LETTERS A.D. 1422-1509.
London : Chatto & Windus / Exeter : James G. Commin, 1904. A “new and complete” library edition : limited to 600 numbered sets. “The most curious papers of the sort I ever saw” — the extraordinary treasure trove of the letters and papers of several generations of the Paston family of Norfolk and London, chronicling their lives, tribulations, successes and failures, as they rose from humble beginnings to high society — “They are the richest source there is for every aspect of the lives of gentlemen and gentlewomen of the English middle ages ... The history of the family in the fifteenth century is theirs alone” (ODNB). Although collections of the letters had appeared from 1787 onwards, this edition, with nearly 1,100 letters and papers, edited by James Gairdner (1828-1912) of the Public Record Office, was much the most comprehensive to appear until modern times.
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PRIESTLEY, J.B. (John Boynton), 1894-1984 : WONDER HERO.
London : William Heinemann, (1933). First edition. Priestley on crusade, exploring the fractured society of the 1930s – the metropolitan world of the press, night-clubs, fashionable hostesses, bankers and incipient fascism, satirised and contrasted with the stark reality of northern industrial decay. A novel much admired by Ramsay MacDonald – “excellent entertainment ... as pithy and lively as we expect any writing of Mr. Priestley’s to be ... ten times more competent and engaging than the average novel” (Sylvia Lind, in the News Chronicle, 21st August 1933).
REID, Mayne (Thomas Mayne), 1818-1883 : THE BUSH-BOYS : OR THE HISTORY AND ADVENTURES OF A CAPE FARMER AND HIS FAMILY IN THE WILD KAROOS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA.
London : David Bogue, 1856 [i.e.1855]. First edition. “There is no living writer in our language who is at all to be compared with Captain Mayne Reid for the power with which he unites fact and marvel” (Morning Advertiser, 7th January 1856) – “As a writer of books for boys, commend us above all men living to Captain Mayne Reid! Wherever his new book goes this new year there will be abundant delight for hours of reading, and plenty to talk about by the evening fire. Toils and adventures, dangers, darings, and sufferings ...” (The Nonconformist, February 1856).
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REYNOLDS, James, 1817-1876 – publisher : THE CENTRAL SUN, AND THEORY OF THE STELLAR UNIVERSE.
London : James Reynolds, [ca.1850]. One of the well-known series of educational diagrams on card published by James Reynolds of the Strand – in this case constructed with cut-outs and translucent paper so that the chart can be held to light to illuminate the central stars of the galaxy. The diagram has clearly written explanatory text below the image, outlining the Victorian conception of the universe and referencing the theories of William Herschel and Johann Mädler concerning the centrality of the Pleiades.
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ROHDE, Eleanour Sinclair, 1881-1950 – editor : THE OLD-WORLD PLEASAUNCE : AN ANTHOLOGY.
London : Herbert Jenkins, 1925. First edition. An engaging anthology of prose and verse relating to gardens and gardening, culled from wide-ranging and often little-known sources from the reign of Charlemagne to the end of the eighteenth century. With separate sections, inter alia, on castle gardens; the joys of gardening; the gardener; women gardeners; lovesome flowers; sundial mottoes; the orchard; bee lore; astrological lore; gardening calendars, etc. With a bibliography of sources. Compiled by the distinguished gardener and garden designer Sophie Rohde of Reigate. “Will interest the gardener and historian alike, and even the general reader cannot fail to find much that will please him in these enchanting pages” (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 4th February 1926).
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ROLLIN, Charles, 1661-1741 : THE ANCIENT HISTORY OF THE EGYPTIANS, CARTHAGINIANS, ASSYRIANS, BABYLONIANS, MEDES AND PERSIANS, MACEDONIANS AND GREEKS.
London : for James, John and Paul Knapton, 1734-1736. First edition in English. Rollin’s sprawling history of the ancient world – by far the most influential and popular account of its time – reprinted again and again until the late nineteenth century. Although three supplementary volumes were published in 1737-1739, the set was evidently regarded by many readers as complete in ten volumes by 1736 and a good number of sets in the major institutions are similarly restricted to this number. A nineteenth-century pencilled instruction at the front of the present set confirms that only ten volumes were ever sent to the bookbinder “to be lettered and gilt on the backs” – in fact to be labelled. Originally published in Paris from 1730 onwards.
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RUTTER, Owen, 1889-1944 – editor : WE HAPPY FEW : AN ANTHOLOGY.
London : Christopher Sandford at the Golden Cockerel Press, 1946. First edition : one of 750 numbered copies. A rousing anthology of verse and prose – from Shakespeare to Churchill, from the well-known to the obscure – extolling the spirit of Britain at war, Britain at sea, and Britain in the air. Over sixty pieces, including both Wellington and Thackeray on Waterloo, Instructions to Captain Cook, Nelson’s Prayer before Trafalgar, etc. Illustrated with wood-engravings (made on active service) by John O’Connor (1913-2004), and with an introduction by Dorothy Rutter (1892-1961).
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SAVAGE, Richard Henry, 1846-1903 : A DAUGHTER OF JUDAS : A TALE OF NEW YORK CITY FIN-DE-SIÈCLE LIFE.
London : George Routledge & Sons, 1895. First British edition. “A remarkably pretty woman had just whirled past in a sleigh ... ‘How in the world did she turn up in New York in January! Too much rapid transit in this world!’ ... This year of ninety reminds me that my life has been deficient in sleigh-rides”. The colourful and adventurous soldier-turned-popular-author here going completely over the top in Victorian yellow-back format. Originally published in Chicago in 1894. “Colonel Richard Henry Savage wields a pen of power” (Saturday Review, 5th November 1892).
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[SCARGILL, William Pitt, 1787-1836] : TALES OF A BRIEFLESS BARRISTER.
London : Henry Colburn & Richard Bentley, 1829. First edition. “The characters, though under assumed names, are reported to be admirable portraits of many celebrated living personages” (Morning Post, 28th October 1829). Two well-told stories, “founded on certain actual occurrences that have recently occupied the attention of our courts of law” (London Evening Standard, 6th November 1829). “In the former [Second Thoughts are Best] ... a young foolish fellow runs away from his home and gets into all the vices of London, becomes acquainted with a gang of gypsies, is taken up for a burglary, and then repents and becomes a philosopher and gentleman. From ‘New Neighbours’ we learn the art of becoming acquainted with those who live next door to us, an art, by-the-bye, very little known in London” (Monthly Review, March 1830). Scargill, also the author of “Blue-Stocking Hall” (1827), etc., had already secured a reputation for his acute observation of human foibles and frailties, laced with wit and humour.
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SHAW, George Bernard, 1856-1950 : THE INTELLIGENT WOMAN’S GUIDE TO SOCIALISM AND CAPITALISM.
London : Constable & Co., 1928. First edition. “You can introduce almost any measure of Socialism or Communism into England provided you call it by some other name. Propose Socialistic confiscation of the incomes of the rich, and the whole country will rise to repel such Russian wickedness. Call it income-tax, supertax, and estate duties, and you can lift enough hundreds of millions from the pockets of our propertied class to turn the Soviet of Federated Russian Republics green with envy”. Begun as a letter to his sister-in-law, Shaw’s mansplaining apologia for socialism eventually ran to eighty-four chapters. He later claimed that although he had taken “the utmost pains to make it intelligible, clear, lucid, unambiguous, simple, and unmistakeable ... only one man in the civilized world has understood it; and that man is Albert Einstein”.
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SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe, 1792-1822 : THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS OF PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
London : Oxford University Press, 1927. A handsomely bound edition of the comprehensive Shelley edited and introduced by Thomas Hutchinson (1856-1938) and first published by the OUP in 1904. Includes the prefaces by Mary Shelley written for the 1824 and 1839 editions of his poems.
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SIDNEY, Sir Philip, 1554-1586 : APHORISMS OF SIR PHILIP SIDNEY; WITH REMARKS, BY MISS PORTER.
London : for Longman, Hurst, Rees & Orme, 1807. First edition. An extensive collection of quotations from Sidney, given under a multitude of headings – Man, Birth, Education and Study, Reason and Wisdom, Virtue, Glory, and over fifty more, including Courtesy, Friendship, Curiosity, Custom, Justice, Woman, Love, Faith, etc. – interspersed with occasionally lengthy notes, remarks, and interpretation by Jane Porter (La Penserosa) (1776-1850), the well-respected pioneering historical novelist. Edited, introduced, and dedicated to Gustavus IV of Sweden, by Porter.
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SMITH, Dodie (Dorothy Gladys), 1896-1990 : I CAPTURE THE CASTLE.
London : William Heinemann, (1949). First British edition. “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board” – the travails of Cassandra Mortmain. Her first novel – an eccentric classic brought to an even wider audience by the 2003 film with Bill Nighy, Romola Garai, Rose Byrne, etc.
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STEVENSON, Robert Louis, 1850-1894 : A CHILD’S GARDEN OF VERSES.
London : John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1896 [i.e 1895]. The first illustrated edition of a perennial favourite – the collection of sixty or more children’s poems by Stevenson first published ten years earlier – “The Land of Counterpane”, “The Land of Nod”, “My Bed is a Boat”, “The Land of Story-Books”, etc. Illustrated throughout by Charles Robinson (1870-1937) – “Just as ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ is the best of its kind – you are certain it will live as long ... as the presence of little ones brightens the earth – so Charles Robinson’s illustrations are the best of their kind ... John Lane’s exquisite volume is a treasure” (contemporary review in Black & White).
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STOPPARD, Tom (Sir Thomas), 1937- : JUMPERS.
London : Faber & Faber, (1972). First edition : the uncommon hardback issue. “Tom Stoppard ... works with a brilliance, an intellectual agility, and a capacity of mind as well as of wit that have no rival on the contemporary stage” (Harold Hobson in the Sunday Times review).
STOW, John, 1525?-1605 : A SURVEY OF LONDON, WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1598, BY JOHN STOW.
London : Whittaker & Co., 1842. An attractive and convenient nineteenth-century edition of Stow’s famous survey – the first and greatest of London histories, originally published in 1598 – “the discoverie of London, my native soile and countrie”. Here introduced and edited, primarily from the second edition of 1603, by William John Thoms (1803-1885) and comprising an orderly and methodical account, taking in turn the early history; the walls; the rivers, wells and conduits; the bridges; the gates; the towers and castles; schools; inns of court; orders and customs; sports and pastimes; the watch; London citizens; individual histories of each of the wards of the City, the suburbs and liberties; Westminster, and final chapters on the ecclesiastical and civil government. An appendix gives parallel Latin and English texts of an excerpt from William Fitzstephen’s twelfth-century “Descriptio Nosbilissimae Civitatis Londiniae”. Stow was not only London’s first published historian but marks “a new departure in the art of historical enquiry ... the first English historian to make systematic use of public records” (Kingsford).
TENNYSON, Alfred (Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron), 1809-1892 : HAROLD : A DRAMA.
London : Henry S. King & Co., 1877. First edition. Tennyson’s second play, based on the life of Harold, Earl of Wessex, afterwards King of England, with Edward the Confessor, assorted bishops, earls, William the Conqueror, etc., as characters. “Lord Leofwin, dost thou believe, that these three rods of blood-red fire up yonder mean the doom of England and the wrath of heaven?”
THACKERAY, W.M. (William Makepeace), 1811-1863 : VANITY FAIR : A NOVEL WITHOUT A HERO.
London : Bradbury & Evans, 1848. First edition, bound from the original monthly parts published between January 1847 and July 1848. The parts in first state, with the “rustic” heading to the first chapter, the inadvertent “Mr. Pitt” rather than “Sir Pitt” on p.453, and the notorious “Marquis of Steyne” wood-engraving (p.336) – an illustration said to have been suppressed, under threat of court action, for its allegedly libellous resemblance to the Third Marquis of Hertford. This has been disputed, but the portrait certainly only appears in the earliest copies of the book – and disappeared very early in the book’s life cycle.
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THACKERAY, W.M. (William Makepeace), 1811-1863 : CHRISTMAS BOOKS : MRS. PERKINS’S BALL. OUR STREET. DR. BIRCH.
London : Smith, Elder & Co., 1866. An early collected edition of Thackeray’s gentle and engaging social satires, delightfully illustrated with his own drawings, which were originally published as Christmas books between 1846 and 1848. “Eschewing what has become a species of conventional Christmas mannerism – depending for interest and genial tone of colouring neither upon yule logs, nor plum puddings, nor branches of mistletoe, nor smoking boar’s heads garnished with bay sprigs and rosemary – Mr. Thackeray’s Christmas offering has all the peculiar and original characteristics of the individual mind of its producer ... the very incarnation of riot-running fancy” (Morning Chronicle, 29th December 1846).
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TIMBS, John, 1801-1875 : CURIOSITIES OF LONDON : EXHIBITING THE MOST RARE AND REMARKABLE OBJECTS OF INTEREST IN THE METROPOLIS : WITH NEARLY SIXTY YEARS’ PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS.
London : Virtue & Co., . New edition, corrected and enlarged. An invaluable encyclopaedic dictionary of London – from the Adelphi to the Zoological Gardens, with articles on topics (alchemists, aldermen, almshouses, amusements, artesian wells, etc.) as well as places – mixing the “entertaining and anecdotic” with “social statistics and other Great Facts”. Originally published in small octavo in 1855, but here updated (to 1867), enlarged and expanded, “improved, it is hoped, in the value of its contents, as well as increased in bulk”. Compiled by John Timbs F.S.A., author, journalist and antiquary.
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TIMBS, John, 1801-1875 : ROMANCE OF LONDON: STRANGE STORIES, SCENES AND REMARKABLE PERSONS OF THE GREAT TOWN.
London : Richard Bentley, 1865. First edition. “From the building of the first bridge at London to the startling incident of a few days since” – the history of London in highly entertaining story and anecdote, with sections of Historic Sketches; Remarkable Duels; Notorious Highwaymen; Rogueries, Crimes and Punishments; Love and Marriage; Supernatural Stories; Sights and Shows, and Public Amusements; Strange Adventures and Catastrophes; Remarkable Persons; and Miscellanous. “The indefatigable prince of compilers has once more plied his industrious scissors to good purpose” (Illustrated London News, 24th June 1865).
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TROLLOPE, Anthony, 1815-1882 : TALES OF ALL COUNTRIES.
London : Chapman & Hall, 1861-1863. First editions of both series of Trollope’s short stories, some based on his personal experiences abroad. Seventeen stories in all, including “Miss Sarah Jack, of Spanish Town, Jamaica”, “An Unprotected Female at the Pyramids”, “The Mistletoe Bough”, “The Man who kept his Money in a Box”, etc. Sadleir (writing in 1928) noted the first series as being “a scarce book and difficult to get in fine state” and the second series as being even scarcer – “this book holds a high place in the schedule of Trollope rarities”.
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TROLLOPE, Anthony, 1815-1882 : LADY ANNA.
Leipzig : Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1873. The true first edition : the earliest printing, with just twenty-two earlier Trollope titles listed on the verso of the half-title. Precedes both the London edition, published by Chapman & Hall the following year, as well as the American edition, which also appeared in May 1874. After a torturous legal case, the previously impoverished Anna Lovel becomes the newly acknowledged daughter of an earl – but still wishes to marry a tailor – and, more than that, the son of a radical. As Sadleir noted, “this unsuitable flouting of mid-Victorian propriety” left the public cold, although, as a perceptive critic pointed out, the author was clearly enjoying himself greatly and the novel “contains, in a nutshell ... so many of Mr. Trollope’s favourite ideas” (The Tablet, 30th May 1874).
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TROLLOPE, Anthony, 1815-1882 : THE AMERICAN SENATOR.
London : Chapman & Hall, 1877. First edition. “Once again we have the author at his best, we feel quite disposed to agree with the distinguished critic who declared not long ago that he held that Mr. Trollope’s novels must be counted among the few real pleasures of life. As a specimen of realistic literary art, it would not be easy to find anything more perfect than these three volumes ... there is hardly a figure in the story which has not the sharpness of outline and fidelity of a fine photograph” (The Graphic, 16th June 1877). The figures of course include Arabella Trefoil, “a masterly study of a girl without a heart” (Michael Sadlier), but also “the finest, most fearless and the most tragic of all his doomed and desperate anti-heroines” (James Pope-Hennessy).
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TROLLOPE, Anthony, 1815-1882 : AYALA’S ANGEL.
London : Chapman & Hall, 1881. First edition. Lucy and Ayala Dormer left destitute by the death of their gifted but improvident artist father. “Possibly the most unjustly neglected of all Trollope’s novels ... and yet it is one of the most charming ... the lightest and airiest of them all, it has a gaiety and happiness and playfulness that Trollope ... never exceeded ... what vigour of scene and creation, what vitality of action and dialogue it contains” (Hugh Walpole). “The author has not written a better or pleasanter novel for a good many years” (Pall Mall Gazette, 28th May 1881).
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[UMPHELBY, Fanny, 1788-1852] : THE CHILD’S GUIDE TO KNOWLEDGE; BEING A COLLECTION OF USEFUL AND FAMILIAR QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON EVERY-DAY SUBJECTS, ADAPTED FOR YOUNG PERSONS ... BY A LADY.
London : Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 1870. Forty-fourth edition. A quite extraordinary compilation for the nineteenth-century child, condensing into under 500 pages an encyclopaedic amount of information on all manner of topics. Conceived in the form of Socratic question-and-answer dialogue, we learn of everything from acorns to zinc – from just one opening at random, “What is goulard?”, “What is benzoin?”, “What is storax”, “What is gum-guaiacum”, “What forms the famous diamond cement?” – all confidently and succinctly answered. Originally published as “262 Questions and Answers” in 1825, the book rapidly became a standard text, much expanded through multiple editions until at least a sixty-third edition in 1913, the text initially augmented after the author’s death by her nephew Robert Arthur Ward (1826-1898).
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“VANE, Brett” : MISS SUSAN REGRETS.
London : Curtis Warren, [ca.1951]. First edition. A fake message and a fake cab lead to the kidnap of the beautiful Sylvia Karlton right outside the Silver Bowl nightclub in Chicago. “Brett Vane” was a Curtis Warren house-name, first used by Frederick Tom Foden (1907-1982) and subsequently by various other writers.
WALTON, Izaak, 1593-1683 : THE COMPLEAT ANGLER : OR, THE CONTEMPLATIVE MAN’S RECREATION : BEING A DISCOURSE OF RIVERS, FISHPONDS, FISH AND FISHING NOT UNWORTHY THE PERUSAL OF MOST ANGLERS.
London : George G. Harrap & Co., (1931). First Rackham edition. The great classic of angling literature, here delightfully illustrated by Arthur Rackham. “A very attractive volume which (unlike some ‘gift books’) can be read with pleasure as well as looked at” (Yorkshire Post, 2nd December 1931).
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WAUGH, Evelyn (Evelyn Arthur St. John), 1903-1966 : SCOOP : A NOVEL ABOUT JOURNALISTS.
London : Chapman & Hall, (1938). First edition. “Up to a point, Lord Copper” – the wrong Boot is sent to Ishmaelia. “Mr. Evelyn Waugh has let himself go with a whoop on the trail of sensational journalism ... easily the funniest book of the season” (Illustrated London News, 25th June 1938). The present copy has the front panel of the original dust-jacket laid in to the front free endpaper – the rare and quickly suppressed earlier version of the jacket, with the “Daily Beast” masthead clearly mimicking that of Beaverbrook’s “Daily Express”, and making the butt of Waugh’s satire all too plain. This was rapidly replaced by a plainer jacket with the masthead removed.
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WODEHOUSE, P.G. (Sir Pelham Grenville), 1881-1975 : THE GIRL IN BLUE.
London : Barrie & Jenkins, (1970). First edition. A Gainsborough miniature goes missing – hanging in the balance are the future of Mellingham Hall; the peace of mind of Homer Pyle, who suspects his sister, Bernadette (Barney) Clayborne, of kleptomania; the happiness of a young heir and both his fiancées; the prospects of a gold-digging actress; the employment of a fake butler, and much else besides.
WYLD, James, 1790-1836 - publisher : AINSLIES TRAVELLING MAP OF SCOTLAND SHEWING THE DISTANCES FROM ONE STAGE TO ANOTHER.
London : James Wyld, 1830. A late, seemingly unrecorded, and much revised edition of the map first published by John Ainslie (1745-1828) in 1783. A crystal-clear road map of Scotland on a scale of around fourteen miles to the inch (1:8621), with mileages shown along each road, a triangular distance table for the major towns, and a table of spot-heights for the hills, etc. Wyld has added numerous new roads, especially in the Highlands, considerably extended the table of heights, and added a table of comparable English figures.
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WYLLIE, W.L. (William Lionel), 1851-1931 & WYLLIE, M.A. (Marion Amy), 1860-1937 : LONDON TO THE NORE : PAINTED & DESCRIBED BY W. L. & M. A. WYLLIE.
London : A. & C. Black, 1905. First edition. “No one knows his Thames better than Mr. W. L. Wyllie, as the walls of many an Academy exhibition have testified. Recently he painted a series of sixty pictures illustrating the scenery from Westminster to the Nore – truly a gallery of storied interest ... these have now been reproduced in colour by Messrs. A. & C. Black to illustrate yet another of their charming books ... Mrs. Wyllie has written a story to link the pictures ... To compile so admirable a commentary on London’s history and the associations of lower Thames-side Mrs. Wyllie has clearly taken a vast deal of pains; nothing substantial has escaped her ... every Londoner who reads it will prize it. The reproductions are exquisitely done, and the effects here obtained by the colour process printing have not been surpassed by any other publication” (Pall Mall Gazette, 16th August 1905).
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