Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2008 Issue

Modern Literature from Ken Lopez Bookseller

Modern Literature from Ken Lopez Bookseller.



By Michael Stillman

Catalog 147 from Ken Lopez Bookseller offers 260 items in the field of Modern Literature. Included are numerous first editions, pre-publication proofs, signed copies, letters from authors, and even one or two later editions of pre-modern writers (such as Mark Twain). Most material, however, is second half of the 20th century or later, and suitable for collecting. Here are some samples.

Item 16 is the Grove Press first English language edition of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, published in 1954. Lopez notes that this work is, "Considered by many the single most important play of the 20th century." Certainly it was a forerunner in the field of literature that no one understands, making it quite influential in the years ahead. Meanwhile, we still await Godot, who has a thing or two to learn about punctuality. Priced at $3,750.

Ernest Hemingway was never so vague as to what he meant to say. Here are a brief few paragraphs written by him About Marlene Dietrich, the actress. Hemingway approved of her. This introduction to the play Marlene Dietrich appeared in a 1968 issue of Playbill magazine. Says Hemingway of his close friend, "...the happiest time I have is when I have written something that I am sure is good and she reads it and likes it...For I think she knows more about love than anyone." Undoubtedly more than Hemingway. This obscure Hemingway article is offered as item 87. $150.

Item 81 is the book that made "Hannibal Lecter" a familiar, if not beloved name. It is Silence of the Lambs, and it took Lecter's character, introduced in a previous book, and made it central to the story. Several more Hannibal books would follow, while Silence of the Lambs would become a very successful film with Anthony Hopkins portraying Hannibal. Author Thomas Harris has inscribed this copy of the 1988 book. $1,250.

Item 164 is a signed copy of the book portrayed on the cover of this catalogue, Pnin, by Vladimir Nabokov. It is signed and dated "21 Jan. 1959 Cornell Univ." It comes with a laid in letter of explanation as to how this 1957 second printing of Nabokov’s short comic novel came to be signed by the author. Nabokov, who was just taking leave from Cornell at the time, was reluctant to sign autographs. The previous summer, he had achieved his major success with the publication of Lolita. In the letter, the purchaser of this book says he bought two copies of Lolita for Nabokov to sign. However, Nabokov declined, saying he had an agreement with the publisher not to sign copies of Lolita. So, the quick-thinking purchaser went back to the bookstore and purchased this copy of Pnin, which Nabokov consented to sign. $3,500.

Item 4 takes us back to the confrontations of the 1960s. Cleveland may not be thought as the center of '60s counterculture, but the local police were none too pleased with the poetry being sold by bookseller Jim Lowell. Lowell used to have poetry readings at his Asphodel Bookshop, and some of the words in some of those poems weren't very nice. They referred to topics sexual, scatological, and pharmaceutical. Lowell was arrested, and while the police were not able to find any drugs with which to charge him with possession, they did find poetry they considered obscene. Many of Lowell"s supporters responded by putting together item 4, an anthology entitled A Tribute to Jim Lowell, published in 1967. Compiled by T.L. Kryss, it included works by Charles Bukowski, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and many more. Charges were eventually dropped against Lowell, who continued selling books from the Asphodel until his death in 2004. $250.

Ken Lopez Bookseller may be reached at 413-584-4827 or klopez@well.com. Their website is www.lopezbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: U.S. / European Shipping Archive 1800-1814. The Widow Bermingham & Sons Collection. €7,000 to €10,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Bunreacht na hÉireann. Constitution of Ireland. An important copy of the First Printing of De Valera’s new Constitution, approved in 1938. Signed by the Constitution Cabinet. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: A Rare Complete Run of the Cuala Press Broadsides. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Grose (Francis). The Antiquities of Ireland, 2vols. folio London (for S. Hooper) 1791. Magnificent Hand-Coloured Copy - Only 25 Copies. €3,000 to €5,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Cantillon (Richard). Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, Traduit de l'Anglois, Sm. 8vo London (Fletcher Gyles) 1756. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Gregory, (Lady Augusta). Spreading the News: The Rising of the Moon: The Poorhouse (with Douglas Hyde). Being Vol. IX of the Abbey Theatre Series. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Lavery (Lady Hazel). A moving series of three A.L.S. and a Telegram to Gen. Eoin O'Duffy, July-August 1927, expressing her grief at the death of Kevin O'Higgins. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Dampier (Wm.) Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde, ou l'on descrit en particulier l'Isthme de l'Amerique…, 2 vols. in one, Amsterdam, 1698. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Howell (James). Instructions for Forreine Travel Shewing by what Cours, and in what Compasse of Time…, London, 1642. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 8vo, L. (Bloomsbury) 1999, First Edn., First Printing of Deluxe Collectors Edn. Signed. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: James (Wm.) A Full and Correct Account of the Military Occurrences of The Late War Between Great Britain and The United States of America. 2 vols. Lond. 1818. €650 to €900.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: The Laws of the United States, Published by Authority, 3 vols. Philadelphia (Richard Folwell) 1796. €600 to €800.

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