Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2015 Issue

Modern Literature from Peter Harrington

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Modern Literature A-K.

Peter Harrington has issued a catalogue of Modern Literature A-K. The “A-K” indicates the initials of the authors' last names, the implication being that we shall see at least one more catalogue in this vein. What we have here is 20th century literature, heavy in first editions, many copies signed or inscribed. With a few exceptions, the books are in the English language. Certain authors are represented by many books, such as Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming, Ernest Hemingway, and William Faulkner. You need to be an active writer to so qualify. Others are represented by few or only one, including those authors who did not write many books. In all, 255 books are offered, something, undoubtedly, for everyone who collects modern literature. Here, now, are a few examples.

 

Item 51 is Breakfast at Tiffany's, a novella accompanied by three short stories from Truman Capote. This 1958 book likely would have remained somewhat obscure were it not for the movie adapted from it a few years later. It is hard to picture the lead character as anyone other than Audrey Hepburn. This copy has been inscribed by Capote, which Harrington notes is quite uncommon. It was inscribed to Martha Hunt Robertson, an art teacher from Alabama (like Capote) who married another Alabaman, journalist and novelist William Bradford Huie, who was a friend of the author. Priced at $18,800.

 

Here is another inscribed copy of a book made even more famous by the film of the same name. Catch-22 is not only the book and film title, but has become an expression for any sort of situation where conflicting rules make it impossible to achieve a desired goal. Author Joseph Heller inscribed this 1961 book within a few weeks of publication to Everett Hoffman. He writes, “With all good wishes from a copywriter at McCall's to a copywriter at Cunningham & Walsh...” Item 194. $14,600.

 

Here is a book that was not made into a movie – Some Like It Hot. Wait a minute! Isn't that one of Marilyn Monroe's best known films? Yes it is, but not this Some Like It Hot. This is a steamy novel, written by Dorothy Herzog and published in 1930. Ironically, that is the time setting of the other Some Like It Hot. Dorothy Herzog was a newspaper columnist who gave novel writing a try, and wasn't particularly successful at it. However, this risqué novel did get the attention of officials in her hometown of Memphis. They censored her book. This copy has been inscribed by the author to the Danish-born actor Jean Pierre Hersholt. Item 204. $700.

 

This next book comes from an extremely prolific writer, but no ever thinks of him as a novelist. Rather, he was one of the great historians of the 20th century, a great historian because he was also one of the century's most important leaders. Winston Churchill led Britain through the dark days of the Second World War and then wrote a thorough account of it. He also wrote histories of numerous other events, both historical and of events in which he participated. However, he only wrote one novel. He wrote it as a young man, on his way to do battle in India. He finished it later and the book was published in 1900. The title is Savrola, that also being the name of the lead character. He is involved with a revolution in a fictional Mediterranean country. He ends up with the wife of the dictator who is finally overthrown, though the pair is forced to flee. The book was no more than a modest success, but it made Churchill some money on his way to much bigger things. Item 78. $1,900.

 

Item 127 is an obscurity by a very famous author – William Faulkner. The title is The Marble Faun, not to be confused with the book of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is actually a book of poetry, and those who have read it tend to describe it as rather amateurish, the work of a young man destined to be a great novelist, not a poet. It is quite rare. Only around 500 of a projected print run of 1,000 were printed, and most of them appear to have been either discarded or destroyed in a fire. Published in 1924, this was Faulkner's first book. He has inscribed it “To Dink from Bill Faulkner.” There is a mystery to that one as the bookseller has been unable to identify who “Dink,” was, though obviously they must have been on familiar terms. Faulkner later used a character named “Dink” in The Town. $101,300.

 

Item 38 is a first edition of Jorge Luis Borges' short stories and essays entitled Labyrinths. Published in 1962, it is Borges at his unusual best, stories of situations one might think of as Alice in Wonderland for adults. This is imagination and intellect intertwined, insanity that somehow sounds reasonable. $500.

 

Peter Harrington may be reached at +44 020 7591 0220 or mail@peterharrington.co.uk. Their website is www.peterharrington.co.uk.

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 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

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