Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2007 Issue

A Summer Session of Poetry and More from Alexander Rare Books

Alex12

Summer Session from Alexander Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

Reviewed here is the latest catalogue from Alexander Rare Books -- Catalogue 12: Summer Session. Alexander specializes in literary firsts and poetry, although as they note herein, most of the items are of poetry, along with some broadsides, fiction, and small magazines. We might also add that the poetry is mostly 20th century, second half of that century to be more specific. Now that we have established the collecting parameters, let's take a look inside.

Item 16 is an oddly titled work: The Uncollected Stories of John Cheever 1930-1981. If they were uncollected, what is this? There is a story behind this uncorrected proof copy with 68 stories, all but 13 of which have never been published elsewhere. Cheever chose 61 of his stories for his Pullitzer Prize-winning "Collected Stories," but the remainder were unpublished at his death. Several years later, his widow, Mary, signed with small Chicago publisher Academy Chicago to publish the rest. That is what this 1988 proof copy represents. However, the Cheever family was unhappy with this plan, and after an expensive lawsuit, was able to get the contract Mary signed cancelled. Priced at $750.

Item 7 is one of 295 copies of Jorge Luis Borges' sonnet Texas published (in stapled wrappers) by the Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin in 1975. The great Latin American writer's work was translated by Mark Strand, an accomplished poet, writer and Pulitzer Prize winner. Offered is Strand's personal copy with his signature. $125.

Item 24 is one of the bootleg copies of Bob Dylan's poem Tarantula, possibly the first such edition. It was published (actually, mimeographed) around 1970 by the "Wimp Press" in Dylan's hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota. The front cover might imply Dylan's consent to this printing, though that is doubtful -- "Author's royalties from the sale of this book are being donated to the Calaban Free School. Publisher's profits will contribute to the furtherance of Woodstock Nation." Perhaps the publisher contributed whatever author's royalties might have accrued on behalf of Dylan without asking his permission. In those days, Dylan was loathe to engage in commercial enterprises, something he got over as he aged. Tarantula is a bit of stream of consciousness, and like all Dylan writing hard to follow. Here's to you, aretha, crystal jukebox queen. Dylan's lyrics work best when there's music behind it. $350.

The Old West meets new poetry in Michael Ondaatje's The Collected Works of Billy The Kid. This book is a mix of poetry and prose, fact and fiction, concerning the legendary outlaw and gunfighter of the West. If this all seems odd, what would you expect of a tale from the American West written by a Sri Lankan living in Canada? This 1974 work contains an early signature by Ondaatje. Item 72. $200.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions