Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2007 Issue

Poetry and Literature from Alexander Rare Books

Winter2007

The latest group of literary firsts and poetry from Alexander Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

We have received the latest catalogue from Alexander Rare Books, Winter 2007, just in time for spring! Alexander offers Literary Firsts and Poetry, with this collection focused primarily on poetry. Most works are from the 20th century, but a few items from the previous one have managed to sneak into the catalogue. Actually, the majority of items come from the second half of the 20th century. There is no shortage of material to consider with 345 pieces being offered. I would not even pretend to be knowledgeable in the field of poetry from the past fifty years, so the samples from this catalogue described in the next few paragraphs are perhaps more atypical than typical of the majority of what is offered. Those who collect in the area of more recent poetry will find much more of interest in their field being offered by the Barre, Vermont, bookseller than this review reveals. You should check it out. Now, for some samples.

Item 8 is an important piece for collectors of the "beat" generation. It is volume one, number two of the Evergreen Review, published by the Grove Press in 1957. It introduced the writing and poetry of the emerging San Francisco "beat" culture to the nation. Alexander describes this issue as "the most important issue of this long-running literary journal..." It featured works by Henry Miller, Ferlinghetti, McClure, Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. It includes the first separate publication of Ginsberg's Howl. This piece would be the focus of an important first amendment legal case that year. It was the subject of an obscenity trial, saved when the judge determined it had redeeming social value. Ginsberg (in 1993) and McClure signed this copy of the periodical. Priced at $300.

Item 277 is an early printing of Poe's last poem (or at least one of the two poems generally considered to be his "last). It is The Bells, as it appeared in The Boston Cultivator on November 3, 1849. This poem was originally submitted to Sartain's Magazine, but was picked up and republished by this long-running farm magazine less than a month after Poe died. Offered is volume 11 number 44 of this Boston farm publication containing Poe's poem. $295.

Item 22 is the first printing of the first novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise. It was published in April 1920, in a run of 3,000 copies, which Alexander notes, was reported to have sold out in three days. This copy is in exceptionally good condition, though it lacks the scarce dust jacket. $5,000.

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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