Literature, Art and Scripts from Waverly Books
By Michael Stillman
Waverly Books recently published their List 159. Waverly's collections are generally focused on literature, with many items being related to film or theater, such as working scripts. A few are related to art. They are overwhelmingly items from the 20th century, but can range anywhere from its first couple of decades to just a few years ago. There are 177 items offered in this latest list. Now, here is a sample of what you will find.
Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein pulled off no small feat in 1943 with this play that converted a state then better known for dust bowls and grapes-of-wrath refugees to a happy, lively place filled with music. You're doing fine, Oklahoma! This play hit Broadway the same year, and became the longest running show ever to reach the Great White Way. A decade later, it would be made into a successful film as well. Item 35 is a first edition. Priced at $250.
Item 59 is a self-published script for an unproduced film by the eccentric but honored French documentary filmmaker Edouard De Laurot. It is titled The Quarantine, and it was inscribed by De Laurot in April 1965. At the time, he was shooting some strange and erotic material that never made it to the big screen. However, he later produced two notable political documentaries, Listen, America, in 1968, and The Silent Revolution, which was partly filmed with Malcolm X, in 1972. The latter received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary. De Laurot died in the 1990s. This script is very rare and possibly unique. $1,000.
Item 113 is the autobiography of actress and dancer Ginger Rogers: Ginger. My Story. Ms. Rogers appeared in several films with the most famous of all dancers of her era, Fred Astaire. It led to the great line that Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did, only she did it backwards (and in high heels). However, Rogers was more than just a dancer. She won an Academy Award as Best Actress in 1940, and her long career went far beyond the musicals she filmed with Astaire. This 1991 first edition of her autobiography was signed by Rogers in 1992. $225.
Ludwig Wittgenstein is arguably the most important philosopher of the 20th century. He essentially created two works, his Tractatus, which looked at words as something of pictures of basic facts out there in the world, and his Philosophical Investigations, published some three decades later, which reversed his earlier position and interpreted the meaning of language from its context, rather than pictures of facts. While Wittgenstein came to reverse his earlier views, in the years immediately after the Tractatus, he concluded he had answered all of philosophy's problems, so he sought other lines of work. Among those fields of interest was architecture, and he did much of the design on his wealthy sister's house. Item 11 is The Architecture of Ludwig Wittgenstein. A Documentation, by Bernhard Leitner, published in 1973, over two decades after he died. The text is in both English and the philosopher's native German. $75.