Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2012 Issue

Literature and More from B&B Rare Books


Literature and more from B&B Rare Books.

We have received, perhaps slightly late, the Fall/Winter 2011 catalogue from B&B Rare Books of New York. B&B describes its specialties as “18th-20th century American and English literature, poetry, mystery, and detective fiction, and early 20th century children's literature.” We will add that many items within this catalogue are signed or inscribed. The catalogue also notes that “B&B” are Joshua Mann and Sunday Steinkirchner. Hm... hard to figure that one. Maybe bookseller and bookseller? Well, let's take a look inside at a few of the books B&B is offering.

Henry David Thoreau is a man hard to peg by today, or even his own day's standards. Perhaps iconoclast is as close as we can come. He was certainly one of the earliest environmentalists, and a vehement supporter of abolition. That might place him on one side of today's political spectrum, but he was also a strong individualist, a man who appreciated being left alone, and wanted as little government involvement with his life as possible. His individualist/environmentalist nature can be found in his most famous book, written while he isolated himself from most of society: Walden; Or, Life in the Woods. One can only imagine how he might feel about Walden Pond today, where civilization has long since eroded any sense of being alone. Item 67 is a first edition of Thoreau's premier book, published in 1854. Priced at $13,500.

A man who inhabited a world as different from Thoreau's as night and day was F. Scott Fitzgerald. He aspired to the world of the beautiful people in the 1920s and made it there on the strength of his writing. With the 1930s, life became tougher for Fitzgerald. His wife drifted off into insanity, his financial fortunes never quite kept up with his needs. He turned to screenwriting in the late 1930s to supplement his income, and that gave him the insights into Hollywood that provided material for his final novel, The Last Tycoon. Item 20 is a first edition, first issue from 1941. The novel is unfinished. Fitzgerald, whose heavy drinking had ravaged his health, suffered a heart attack and died in late 1940 at the age of 44, his last novel as yet incomplete. $4,000.

When Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better know to most by his pen-name Lewis Carroll, first published his tale about Alice and her adventures in Wonderland in 1865, he was essentially an unknown photographer and mathematician. Two decades later, he was a very popular writer, appreciated by both children and adults for his story about Alice and her illogically logical world. It was at that time that Carroll came up with the idea of publishing a facsimile edition of his original manuscript of Alice. This he had published in 1886, using what had been his original title for the book, Alice's Adventures Under Ground. Item 8 is a copy of this facsimile book, inscribed, as he usually did, “from the Author,” in purple ink. $6,000.

Item 38 is an advance issue of Ernest Hemingway's 1950 novel Across the River and Into the Trees. It is one of 25 copies bound for presentation. This one was inscribed and presented by Hemingway to journalist Ben Meyer, who had traveled to Cuba to interview Hemingway. The inscription is dated “21/8/50,” three weeks prior to the book's publication. Meyer had written that Hemingway was quite pleased with how this book turned out, though the critical reviews were not very supportive of the author's view. Hemingway evidently remained in contact with Meyer over the years, as this copy of his book comes with a letter from Mary Hemingway to Meyer in 1958 thanking him for some photographs. $50,000.

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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