Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2007 Issue

"Beat" and Other Poetry, Literature, and Ephemera from Brian Cassidy

Cassidy1

Excerpt from Burroughs letter to Ginsberg on cover of Brian Cassidy catalog no. one.


By Michael Stillman

Brian Cassidy, Bookseller
has issued his catalog no. one: literature -- rare books, manuscripts, journals and ephemera. That is technically correct, though the greatest focus is on poets from the second half of the 20th century. Those who collect the "beat" generation and its contemporaries in particular will be pleased with this catalogue. However, only a few of the items are actually poetry. There are many associated ephemeral items for the poets, such as letters, drawings, and programs. Additionally, there are pieces associated with prose writers, including several relating to John Steinbeck.

Item 15 is the major piece in this collection, a March 3, 1969 letter and typescript (and envelope) from William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg. Burroughs and Ginsberg had been friends for 25 years at this point, and, Cassidy notes, "occasional lover[s]" (details unnecessary). The letter, sent from London, is addressed to Allen Ginsberg, "Esq.," probably a humorous reference to Ginsberg's role as amateur legal advisor to friends in trouble with the law. Burroughs refers to Ginsberg's recent auto accident with a "Glad to hear you're on the mend." The typescript, which became On the E Meter, was published by Allen De Loach's Intrepid. The E-meter is some sort of electronic device, similar to a lie detector. It is used by the Church of Scientology to supposedly decipher much more about a person's mental state, even past lives, and effect cures for various mental and physical illnesses. However, it carries a major disclaimer to any effectiveness whatsoever as a result of a government action on false practice of medicine in the 1960s. Burroughs had been a supporter of Scientology, and while thinking the E-meter was useful at the time, he was rapidly becoming disillusioned with the Church and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Priced at $25,000.

Item 23 is a letter from novelist Jerzy Kosinski to a book reviewer for the Omaha World Herald. Dated 1971, and on the stationary of the Yale Drama School, he profusely thanks the writer for his review of Being There. Being There is Kosinski's best-known work, having been made into the classic 1979 film starring Peter Sellers as the dimwitted gardener people believed to be an insightful genius. Writes Kosinski, "I can think of nothing more stimulating for an author than to have his vision so exactly seized upon and so lucidly presented to a wide audience. Yet, your critical analysis not only lends a new image to the novel; it prompts the novelist to discern what, without your perception, he never would have believed himself." Cassidy notes that with Kosinski's reputation, this may have been somewhat tongue in cheek, and he may have written similarly exaggerated comments to many other reviewers. $325.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Bartolomeo Caporali, attributed to (fl.1442–1503). <i>The Flagellation,</i> historiated initial ‘D’ cut from an illuminated Missal on vellum [Perugia, c.1485–90].
    <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Frate Nebridio (1460s – 1490s). <i>The Last Supper,</i> historiated initial from an antiphonal, illuminated manuscript on vellum. Lombardy, probably Cremona, c.1470s. £15,000 to £25,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Lewis David de Schweinitz (1780–1834). Fungorum Niskiensium Iconum, an album of mycological watercolours. Niesky, Germany, c.1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727). <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica,</i> edited by Edmond Halley (1656–1743). London, 1687. £350,000 to £400,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 13 July:</b> Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616). <i>El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha.</i> Madrid, 1605. £300,000 to £400,000
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Scott Joplin, <i>Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts,</i> New York, 1911. Sold March 24 — $40,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Louisa May Alcott, autograph letter signed, 1868. Sold June 2 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Anne Bradstreet, <i>Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight,</i> Boston, 1758. Sold June 2 — $21,250.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression,</i> London, 1632. Sold May 5 — $161,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> John Bachmann, <i>Panorama of the Seat of War,</i> New York, 1861-62. Sold June 23 — $35,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Bronte, <i>Jane Eyre,</i> first edition, London, 1847. Sold June 16 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Elihu Vedder, <i>Simple Simon, His Book,</i> 1913. Sold June 9 — $12,350.
    <b>Swann:</b> Frederick Catherwood, <i>Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,</i> London, 1844. Sold April 7 — $37,500.
  • <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 1805 TN Supreme Court Book, John Overton and Hugh White Opinions. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> TN Lunsford Bramlett Archive, incl. Polk White House Invitation, 8 Items. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Civil War Archive, incl. Gen. Bate on Death of Polk, Capture of Nashville. $2,000 to $2,400.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 5 Dickens 1st Ed. Books, incl. Edited by Author. $800 to $1,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Charles Dickens, 5 Christmas Books, 1st Eds. $800 to $1,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 2 Slave Documents, Nashville TN & North Carolina. $700 to $900.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 3 Maurice Sendak Signed Items, incl. Nutcracker, Pierre. $500 to $600.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 7 Phillip Roth Hardcover Books, incl. Author Signed, 1st Eds. $500 to $550.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 6 Kurt Vonnegut Hardcover Books, incl. Author Signed, 1st Eds. $400 to $500.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Two-Day Summer Auction<br>July 9 & 10, 2022</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> 3 Edward Gorey Items, incl. Print + 2 Books. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Josef Albers, INTERACTION OF COLOR, 1963. $800 to $900.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jul. 9-10:</b> Henri Matisse Jazz Portfolio for MOMA, 1st Ed., 1983. $600 to $800.

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