Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2008 Issue

Literature from Shapero Rare Books

Shaperospring

Literature from Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

Bernard J. Shapero Rare Books has issued a Spring List 2008 of Literature. Included is a collection of fifty literary classics in first or other special editions. With the exception of a Gulliver's Travels from the 18th century, these books range from the early 19th to the late 20th century. There will be few if any authors you don't recognize, this being a catalogue of important and collectible writers. Here are some examples.

The aforementioned book about Gulliver's travels, officially Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, remains one of the most popular travel books ever. Of course, these travels never took place, nor did Lemuel Gulliver even exist. This all came from the imagination, and wit, of author Jonathan Swift. The work was a parody of the travel books of the era, when various explorers would set out all over the world and come back with their tales of lands far away. Swift's were much farther away, and Gulliver reported back on lands of midgets and giants and all sorts of characters and fantastic places. Entertaining as it is, much of Swift's original wit is lost on most readers today as it poked fun at political issues of the day long since forgotten. Item 42. Published in 1726 (this is a first edition, second issue). Priced at £6,750 (or approximate equivalent of US $13,407).

Here is a major work with some fascinating Cold War intrigue behind it. Boris Pasternak wrote his epic Doctor Zhivago over many years in Soviet Russia. When it was finally ready for publication, it was rejected by local authorities as not being properly supportive of the state. There was little room for freedom of expression in the Soviet Union, but Pasternak gave a copy of his manuscript to Italian publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli who took it back to Italy and had it published in Italian. The book became a great success, with much support from western governments who saw it as a propaganda victory during the height of Cold War tensions. The book was recognized as worthy of a Nobel Prize, but the rules for that award required the book be published in its original language. So, with some help from the CIA, this Russian edition was published under Feltrinelli's name (but not by him), undated, but in 1958. Item 32 is the Russian language edition. Priced at £1,250 (US $2,464).

Item 5 is a novel centered on the land. It is a story of changing times, prosperity and despair, in turn of the century China. Ultimately, the story is focused on the main character and his ties to The Good Earth. Pearl Buck's classic novel was published in 1931, and item 5 is a copy of the first edition, first issue. Buck won a Pulitzer Prize for the book and a Nobel for literature a few years later. £950 (US $1,873).

Item 1 is about a family that was more than tied to the good earth, they lived inside of it. Watership Down is the tale of some anthropomorphic rabbits, who flee their doomed warren to establish a new colony on Watership Down. There is much danger along the way to building their new home, and you quickly forget their harey nature amidst the human emotions and issues they experience. Offered is the first illustrated edition of this book by Richard Adams, one of a limited edition of 250 copies published in 1976 and signed by the author. £2,500 (US $4,927).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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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