Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2011 Issue

Signed Modern Literature from Peter Harrington

Harrington76

Signed modern literature from Peter Harrington.

Peter Harrington, the London bookseller, has issued their catalogue Peter Harrington 76. Modern Literature - 100 Signed and Inscribed Books. Very little in the way of explanation is needed beyond that title. These are 20th century (or just before) literary masterpieces, signed and mostly inscribed by their authors. Many carry interesting provenances, as the recipients weren't just fans but friends, family, and other associates. This is a catalogue for people who collect great books with personal connections. Here are some examples.

 

Item 37 is a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's first collection of short stories, released the same year as his first novel - 1920. That novel, This Side of Paradise, propelled Fitzgerald to fame, paving the way for an opulent, beyond their means lifestyle for Fitzgerald and his new bride, Zelda. The collection of short stories here offered is titled Flappers and Philosophers, and this copy is inscribed to "George W." from Fitzgerald. No, that was not Mr. Bush. "George W." was George W. Stair, a notable bookseller in 1920s New York. Priced at £30,000 (British pounds, or roughly $48,700 in U.S. currency).

 

The next one is an even more spectacular Fitzgerald piece, a first edition, first printing presentation copy of his most famous work, The Great Gatsby. Gatsby was published in 1925, at a time before life began to slide for Scott and Zelda. This copy includes an inscription with a drawing of two letter-sweatered college students, written to Fitzgerald's college classmate Gilbert Browne. The students in the drawing have big "R's" on their sweaters, and the inscription states, "To Gilbert Browne from his old Rutgers Classmate F Scott Fitzgerald Los Angeles 1927." Of course, Fitzgerald never went to Rutgers, nor did Browne. They both attended Princeton, this evidently being something of a joke targeting a college with lesser prestige then their Ivy League school. Item 38.  £300,000 (US 486,680).

 

Here is a book that will make you rethink your image of rabbits:  Richard Adams' Watership Down. The amount of intrigue and violence taking place in the bunny community is astonishing. Adams' 1972 book is inscribed to Amy Wisdom, his future sister-in-law. £2,750 (US $4,462).

 

Item 31 is a collection of poetry by Emily Dickinson, though it is inscribed by her niece instead. There are no known copies of Dickinson's works inscribed by her, nor are there likely to be any. Dickinson was virtually unknown during her lifetime, no collected works, and only 10 published poems, seven in her local newspaper a couple of decades before she died. Emily Dickinson showed little inclination to publish, even though she wrote almost 2,000 poems, primarily during the 1860s. The few that were published were edited to make them more suitable to conventional tastes of the time. Dickinson was a recluse, a woman who lived for reading and writing, and rarely ventured from home, or even her room as she grew older. However, she did maintain an active correspondence with several friends, including men she considered masters or teachers, perhaps the closest she came to romantic interests. She died in 1886, single, still living at home, at the age of 55. It was not until after he death that her sister discovered her handwritten books of poems and realized her skill. That led to a series of published collections that became very popular and sealed her reputation as one of America's foremost poets. Item 31 is a copy of The Single Hound, published in 1914, with an introduction by and an inscription from her niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, who published some of her collections. The book comes with a handwritten copy of 12 lines from Dickinson's poem beginning, "To love thee year by year." It is signed "Emily." One other manuscript copy of this poem in Dickinson's hand is known. £50,000 ($81,136).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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