Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2015 Issue

From the Archives of Victor Gollancz Offered by Peter Harrington

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From the archives of Victor Gollancz.

Peter Harrington has issued a catalogue From the Archives of Victor Gollancz Ltd. Victor Gollancz was a man of strong political beliefs who worked in the printing business as a young man. His views ranged from liberal to socialist to sympathetic to communism for awhile, but he changed his opinion of the last of those after the Soviet-Nazi treaty of 1939. Gollancz was one of the first to understand the dangers of the rise of the Nazis in Germany and later realize the extent of the horrors being inflicted in that land during the war. In 1927, he set up his own publishing company, to help print the works of those who espoused similar views, but he would go on to publish many other types of books as well, including much fiction. His use of bright yellow dust jackets with recommendations and other enticing comments on the covers was designed to draw attention to the firm's books.

 

Victor Gollancz died in 1967. His company, Victor Gollancz Ltd., passed to his daughter, and was sold to outside publishers in 1989. It has since changed hands a few times and today still exists as an imprint for science fiction and fantasy books. The books in this archive were acquired from Gollancz's successors. They had been file copies and most are stamped as such. They have been kept together, out of circulation for a long time, and are mostly in very good condition or better, dust jackets included. Harrington notes that most are very uncommon if not seriously rare. Gollancz tended to publish first editions in short runs to see if there was a market before rolling them out. The catalogue describes 332 of them, but Harrington notes that there are more available online. Most were printed in the 1930's but a few come from the closer years of the adjoining decades. Here are a few of these titles.

 

Victor Gollancz had pacifist sympathies, so this book would have been a natural: Robert Bernays' Naked Fakir, published in 1931. It is the author's account of India's Mahatma Gandhi, who led his nation to independence through non-violent resistance. Gandhi had been promoting a break from Britain during the 1920's and in 1930, India's Congress declared its independence from the mother country, a declaration ignored by the colonial power. Gandhi participated in a major protest against the salt tax that year (Americans can relate to such a tax protest against the British), though in the year this book was published, he reached a pact with the British viceroy that restored some order to the colony. Nonetheless, Gandhi would press on to his ultimate goal of independence, finally achieved in 1947. Item 75. Priced at £85 (British pounds, or roughly $129 in U.S. dollars).

 

Item 185 is the first edition in the English language of a major work that left us with the expression “kafkaesque” to describe a bizarre, irrational situation. The Trial, Franz Kafka's unfinished masterpiece, was first published in German in 1925. This edition, translated by Edwin and Willa Muir, was published by Gollancz in 1937. It is the story of a man, known only as “K,” who is arrested on unstated charges. He faces various proceedings, never knowing what he has supposedly done wrong, in a surrealistic court, represented by a lawyer who isn't of much help. Eventually, he is hauled off and executed. Kafka wrote the unfinished book ten years before he died, evidently abandoning it and wishing it never be published. He left instructions that it be destroyed after he died, but fortunately, his literary executor ignored his wishes and had it published. £8,750 (US $13,273).

 

This next item is also a product of Gollancz's political views: Native Son, by Richard Wright. Published in 1940, this is a first UK edition of a book first published the previous year in America. It is the black writer's fictional account of a young black man, growing up in utter poverty in Chicago, and the despair and tragedy to which it inevitably leads. It was controversial in its day, long before the Civil Rights movement began to draw sympathy from much of white America. Item 326. £275 (US $417).



This is the strange story of Gaspard Hauser. The Orphan of Europe. Published in 1930, it is a first edition in English of a French book about a young man who died almost a century earlier. Kaspar Hauser showed up in the streets of Nuremberg one day around the age of 16 with a note and a very strange story. He claimed to have been raised in a tiny, dark cell, with almost no human contact. His story elicited both curiosity and sympathy. No one could figure out his true identity or history. Some believed he was the captured son of a nobleman. In the years following, he was taken in by various sympathetic people. Ultimately, it appears that just about every one of them came to believe Hauser was a liar and a fraud. He died in 1833 of a stab wound, which many believed was self-inflicted, the knife stuck in a little too deep by a faker trying to rekindle interest in his plight. Octave Aubrey's historic novel was originally published in French in 1928. Item 32. £85 (US $129).



Item 19 comes from 1929, the first UK edition of The Polar Adventure. The “Italia” tragedy seen at close quarters, by Odd Arnesen. This is an account of the tragic second North Pole expedition by Italian Umberto Nobile, originally published in Norwegian. In 1926, Nobile and Norwegian Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, piloted a semi-rigid airship over the North Pole. It may, or may not, have been the first such overflight, depending on whether you believe Richard Byrd's earlier claim. Nobile and Amundsen later had a split, and in 1928, Nobile set out on a second such expedition. On the return flight, the Italia crashed. Only six of the sixteen on board survived, Nobile being one of them. Amundsen put away his hard feelings and joined the search. He was lost, his precise fate unknown. Nobile lived another half century. £175 (US $265).



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

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> C.F. Payne, <i>Micawber, Imitating Norman Rockwell’s “Triple self-portrait,”</i> mixed media, 2002. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Brian Froud, media illustration published in <i>The Land of Froud,</i> 1977. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Haddon Sundblom, <i>All a Girl Needs,</i> oil on canvas, published in <i>The Ladies’ Home Journal,</i> 1942. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Adrianne Lobel, <i>My One and Only,</i> 26 scenic concept collages for the Broadway musical, 1983. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Charles Schulz, original four-panel pen and ink <i>Peanuts</i> comic strip, 1971. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b>Jack Davis, mixed media cartoon for <i>Playboy,</i> 1959. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Jun 24:</b> Charles Addams, mixed media cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1937. $6,000 to $9,000.
  • <center><b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé<br>Sales Exhibition Catalogue 47<br>Part III<br>Antiquarian Temptations:<br>Rare Books, Atlases & Maps,<br>Photos & Manuscripts</b>
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> PIETER MORTIER. “Le Neptune Francois ou Atlas Nouveau des Cartes Marines. Levées et Gravées par ordre Exprés du Roy…” Paris, 1693.
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> MARC CHAGALL illus. SHAKESPEARE. “The Tempest.” Large folio. Monte-Carlo, 1975. Signed by the artist.
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> JOHN SPEED and followers. “A New and Accurate Map of the World.” Hand-colored engraving. London (1626 – 1627 – circa 1650) – 1676.
    <center><b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé<br>Sales Exhibition Catalogue 47<br>Part III<br>Antiquarian Temptations:<br>Rare Books, Atlases & Maps,<br>Photos & Manuscripts</b>
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> MATTHÄUS SEUTTER. “The Colossus Series.” Set of 4 prints, contemporary hand-colored engravings, each c. 57x49cm. Augsburg c. 1730
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> (CHARLES LE BRUN). “La Grande Galerie De Versailles, et Les Deux Salons qui L’Accompagnent, peints Par Charles Le Brun premier Peintre de Louis XIV…” Paris, 1752.
    <b>Galleri Bygdoy Allé:</b> G. BRAUN – F. HOGENBERG. “Danorum Marca.” Contemporary hand-colored engraving, 33x48cm. Cologne, 1588.
  • <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> LIFE OF OSLER, PRESENTATION COPY TO NEPHEW NORMAN GWYN. CUSHING, HARVEY. 1869-1939. <i>The Life of Sir William Osler.</i> Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1925. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> OSLER TO HALSTED MENTIONING CUSHING AND WELCH. Autograph Letter Signed ("Wm Osler") to William Stewart Halsted on medical matters, 2 pp, January 19, 1919. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> CUSHING PRESENTATION COPY TO LUCIEN PRICE. CUSHING, HARVEY. <i>Intracranial Tumours.</i> Springfield, 1932. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> OSLER ON HIS CHILDHOOD. Autograph Letter Signed ("Wm Osler") to Mabel [Brewster] on returning home to Staplehurst. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> SCULTETUS, JOHANNES. 1595-1645. <i>Cheiroplotheke, seu armamentarium chirurgicum XLIII.</i> Ulm: Balthasar Kühnen, 1655. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> VICQ D'AZYR, FELIX. 1748-1794. <i>Traite d'anatomie et de physiologie.</i> Paris: Didot l'aine, 1786. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 29:</b> TAGAULT, JEAN. C.1499-1546. <i>De chirugica institutione libri quinque....</i> Lyon: Guillaume Rouillé, 1549. $400 to $600.
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). Autograph Logs and Journals from his 1927 Alaska Expedition. $7,000 to $ 9,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). Cañon de Chelley, 1904. Oversized orotone, 17 x 22in in original Curtis Studio frame. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). 26 cyanotypes, featuring images of Cheyenne tribes from Volume VI of <i>North American Indian,</i> c.1907, made by Curtis in the field. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, June 30:</b> EDWARD S. CURTIS (1868-1952). The Vanishing Race, 1904. Oversized orotone, 18 x 24in in original Curtis Studio frame. $20,000 to $30,000.
  • <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [CIVIL WAR] -- [SHERIDAN, Philip Henry]. Personal headquarters flag of Philip Henry Sheridan used when he led the 2nd Michigan Cavalry. Spring - Summer 1862. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [EARLY PHOTOGRAPHY]. Half plate daguerreotype of firefighter Walter Van Erven Dorens. [San Francisco]: n.p., [ca 1854-1856]. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [LINCOLNIANA]. Abraham Lincoln banner possibly made for the 1864 presidential campaign. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [REVOLUTIONARY WAR - CONTINENTAL CONGRESS]. [HOLTEN, Dr. Samuel]. An archive of letters related to Danvers, Massachusetts, physician and statesman Dr. Samuel Holten. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD]. CARBUTT, John, photographer. Exceptional collection of 27 stereoviews from the series, "Excursion to the 100th Meridian, October 1866." Chicago, [1866]. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [ALASKAN GOLD RUSH]. William Steele West and family, extensive archive of photographs, diaries, correspondence, and personal items. [Ca 19th - 20th century]. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [TAYLOR, Zachary]. Quarter plate daguerreotype featuring the 12th President of the United States. N.p.: n.p., [ca 1845]. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [WASHINGTON, George]. Signed Society of the Cincinnati document. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> LINCOLN, Abraham. Autograph endorsement signed ("A. Lincoln"), as President. [Washington], 29 September 1862. 1 page, 4to, old creases. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <center><b>Cowan’s<br>American Historical Ephemera<br>& Photography<br>June 25, 2021</b>
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> JEFFERSON, Thomas. Autograph letter signed ("Th. Jefferson"), as United States President, to Robert Patterson. Washington DC, 2 July 1805. 1 page, 4to, evenly toned, small tear from seal. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [EARLY PHOTOGRAPHY] -- [ALCOTT, Elizabeth Sewall]. Ninth plate ruby ambrotype attributed to Elizabeth Sewall Alcott. N.p., [ca 1856-1857]. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Cowan’s, June 25:</b> [WESTERN AMERICANA]. RUSSELL, Andrew Joseph, photographer. <i>Salt Lake City, From the Top of the Tabernacle.</i> [1869]
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Livres et Manuscrits :<br>de Cervantès à Houellebecq<br>18 – 25 June</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 18 – 25 June:</b> Jouve, Paul -- François-Louis Schmied -- Rudyard Kipling. <i>Le Livre de la Jungle,</i> 1919.<br>€ 80,000 to € 120,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 18 – 25 June:</b> Cervantès Saavedra, Miguel de. <i>El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha.</i> Bruxelles, 1607.<br>€ 30,000 to € 50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 18 – 25 June:</b> Buren, Daniel - Aimé Césaire. Cahier d'un retour au pays natal. Solstice, 2004. 1/140 ex. Avec 1/20 suites d'œuvres originales.<br>€ 4,000 to € 6,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 18 – 25 June:</b> [Musique] - Gioacchino Traversa. Six sonates à violon seul. [Vers 1770].<br>€ 3,000 to € 5,000.

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