Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2011 Issue

The Spanish Speaking World from Libreria de Antano

Antanonov2011

The Spanish Speaking World.

Libreria de Antano recently issued a catalogue entitled The Spanish Speaking World. Rare Books and Manuscripts. That world, quite naturally, begins with Spain, but then extends to South and Central America, a bit of North America, the Caribbean, and the Philippines. The catalogue occasionally slides outside these boundaries to the Portuguese world, but Spain's Iberian neighbor deserves a good turn. Most of the material relates to Latin America, the once extensive colonial empire of Spain that quickly disintegrated around 1820, but still retains cultural and linguistic ties to the land that once conquered it. Over 500 years have passed and Columbus still throws a long shadow over the land. This catalogue is presented in chronological order, ranging from the 1548 first Spanish edition of Apianus' atlas to a 1967 first edition of a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Here are a few of the items in between.

Here is a work we don't generally think of as one of Spanish America, and yet it most certainly is, even if it was written by a couple of English explorers. Item 98b is a first edition, first issue of the Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle, 1826-1836, describing their examination of the Southern Shores of South America... This set contains the three volumes and appendix. There were two voyages, but it was the second one, and specifically the work taking place on the Beagle, that would make this one of the most important scientific voyages ever. The primary author, and captain of the ship, Robert Fitzroy hired on a young naturalist named Charles Darwin to study the natural history of the area. It was during this expedition that Darwin would examine fossils from extinct species, and note similarities and differences between species on the mainland and on various islands. From this Darwin would conclude that species were somehow changing into others, and in time he would reach the conclusion that one species evolved to another through natural selection, though it would take two more decades for him to announce this theory. The third volume of this set, published in 1839, was written by Darwin, and it reveals much of the evidence on which his theory of evolution would in time be formed. Priced at $38,500.

Item 2 is described by Libreria de Antano as “the major work of narrative prose of Spanish literature.” It is a rare first edition of El Conde Lucanor, the 1575 first edition of a work that was written in the 1330s. The author was Don Juan Manuel, and his tales of Count Lucanor consists of numerous short morality play stories. The Count presents various difficult situations before his wise advisor Patronio, who rather than giving an answer, provides a story based on a similar situation. By the time it is finished, the Count is able to see the parallel and knows what needs to be done. The best known section of this work is the first part, with 51 such stories, drawn from various sources, including Aesop, and old Arabic and Hindu tales. This copy is apparently unique as it has a different title page and final leaf from other known copies, though everything else is identical to other first editions, and these pages were printed at the same time as the others. Libreria de Antano speculates that this may have been a preliminary copy, one that was missing these two pages so that replacements were quickly ordered, or someone was pirating the work to avoid taxes. Price on request.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Abraham Lincoln, <i>Emancipation Proclamation by the President of the United States,</i> pamphlet, 1862. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the distinguished Ruby-Jackson family, Portland, Maine, 1853-1961. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Family papers of the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens & the persons who served him, 1866-1907. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Autograph book with inscriptions by orators Moses Roper & Peter Williams, 1821-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Archive of letters, postcards, and greeting cards sent by Romare Bearden, 1949-87. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br>E. Simms Campbell, <i>A Night-Club Map of Harlem,</i> in inaugural issue of Manhattan, 1933. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Papers of the comedian Nipsey Russell, including a letter from MLK, 1929-2000. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Early German-American anti-slavery broadside, <i>Sclaven-Handel,</i> Philadelphia, 1794. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Edmonia Lewis, prominent sculptor, carte-de-visite by Henry Rocher, c. 1866-71. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b><br><i>The Black Panther: Black Community News Service,</i> 44 issues, San Francisco, 1967-1971. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Withers, <i>I Am A Man, Sanitation Workers Strike,</i> silver print, 1968. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> <i>March For Freedom Now!,</i> poster for the 1960 Republican Convention. $4,000 to $6,000.

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