Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2013 Issue

Modern Literature from Peter Harrington

Harringtonmla-k

A Metropolis of modern literature.

Peter Harrington of London has released a catalogue of Modern Literature, Part One A-K. Obviously, there will be more, but this first part covers authors from J.R. Ackerley to Jerzy Kosinski. If you collect 20th century writers within this section of the alphabet, you have a great chance of finding a match as there are almost 500 books offered. Most are first editions and condition is generally exceptional. Here are a few samples of the books you will find.

The image you see on this catalogue's cover comes from the dust jacket of Metropolis, published in 1926. It was written by Thea von Harbou, but based on the screenplay prepared by her and her husband Fritz Lang. It is a science fiction piece about the world a century hence (which today is only 13 years away). It is a fantastic, futuristic city on the surface, but under the streets, workers slavishly run the machines that keep this city working. The film was released the following year and was the most expensive silent film ever made. The film may have been predicting a terrible future a century away, but this was a German production, and the most horrible of slave labor camps would be coming to that land only a little more than a decade in the future. No one could have imagined at the time. Lang opposed the rise of the Nazis and escaped to America in the early 1930s, while von Harbou became a supporter and filmmaker for them. Naturally, the couple split. Item 355. Priced at £9,500 (British pounds, or about $14,662 in U.S. dollars).

Item 440 is the first book from James Joyce, Chamber Music, published in 1907. While Joyce was a talented singer, this is a collection of poetry, not songs. Joyce was only 25 years old at the time and made his living though teaching and various business ventures. His success as a writer was still several years away. However, this book achieved a certain amount of critical acclaim, though this was not reflected in its sales. Offered is the first issue of the first edition. There were 509 copies printed, but only around 200 were bound. The others were bound later after Joyce's writing became successful. This copy is from the first binding. £6,500 (US $10,023).

For those who like books that actually relate to music, there is Porgy and Bess. An Opera in Three Acts... This was produced for the 1935 opera with music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Dubose Heyward and Ira Gershwin. Heyward wrote the original book and play on which the opera was based. This is a first edition, limited issue (250 copies), signed by both Gershwins, Heyward, and Director Rouben Mamoulian. Item 310. £9,500 (US $14,656).

Item 270 is a book signed by Ian Fleming, but it is not one of his own. Rather, it is a copy of Humoresque, by the Italian born British poet Humbert Wolfe. The date of Fleming's signature explains why it was not on one of his own books – 1926. Fleming was only 18 at the time and would not publish his first novel for another 27 years. Wolfe was a popular poet in the 1920s, so it is not surprising the young Fleming had a copy of one of his books, though he has now been mostly forgotten. £650 (US $1,002).

I don't know what is the most well-read book of the second half of the 20th century, but this one must be on the list: Lord of the Flies, William Golding's look at a new “civilization” formed by children stranded alone on an island. It is a depressing look for anyone who thinks humanity has evolved very much over the, say, last few million years. Beginning with their British schoolboy rules, the children quickly break down to living the law of the jungle when left to their own devices. The distance between us and the jungle is oh so thin. This is a first edition proof copy from 1954. Item 316. £5,250 (US $8,098).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <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>

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