Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2008 Issue

Mostly Modern Poetry from Alexander Rare Books

Alex14

Poetry and more from Alexander Rare Books.



By Michael Stillman

Alexander Rare Books has issued their Catalog Fourteen of Literary Firsts and Poetry. While the heading Winter 2008 indicates we may have received this a bit late, winter does last longer in Vermont. Offered are 150 items, and this time, the great majority are from the field of poetry. Even more specifically, the works are primarily modern poetry. However, there are a few exceptions. Here are a few of the pieces offered.

Item 38 is a review copy of the first book publication of two major poets of the twentieth century: Randall Jarrell and John Berryman. Published by New Directions in 1940, it is entitled Five Young American Poets, the others being George Marion O’Donnell, Mary Barnard, and W.R. Moses. Jarrell developed his reputation first more as a critic than poet in the 1940s, using his biting wit. Although he had been writing poetry since the 1930s, it was not until the '60s that he began writing work that earned serious critical acclaim. Unfortunately, he had personal issues that led him to attempt suicide, and in 1965, he was struck and killed by a car, officially ruled an accident but no one can be certain. Berryman similarly achieved his peak in the 1960s, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1964. However, he too suffered from depression, and took his life in 1972, leaping from a bridge. Sometimes despair breeds great art. Priced at $500.

Item 39 is one of 26 lettered copies ("Q") of Berryman's His Thought Made Pockets & The Plane Buckt. This 1958 printing was the first publication or first book printing of ten of the eleven poems within. This copy is signed by Berryman. $2,400.

Not to tarry too long on the subject of poets and personal despair, but item 94 is Suburban Monastery Death Poem by D.A. Levy (or d.a. levy). This is a mimeographed second edition (as was the first) published in 1976, eight years after the first. Levy, who tended to avoid capital letters, would mimeograph his sometimes rambling, counterculture poetry in his hometown of Cleveland. Levy, or levy, had his personal issues too, and in 1968, at the age of 26, he shot himself. $35.

After all of these depressing poetic lives, who better to turn to than Ogden Nash? If Nash was not the traditionally serious poet, he was surely one of the funniest, and his popularity spread well beyond the typical audience for poetry. Item 135 is the 1964 Selected Poems of Stevie Smith, the British writer and poet who had her share of depressing personal issues. All of these poets needed to read more Nash. However, she could also be whimsical, like Nash. Anyway, laid into Smith’s book is a promotional card, Mr. Ogden Nash to Miss Stevie Smith: A Bouquet on her American Publication of Her Selected Poems. It contains the 12-line poem Stevie Smith, which Alexander believes is the first, and possibly only printing of this Nash poem. $75.

Here is something very different: The Works of Lord Byron. This is a five-volume set of the early 19th century baron’s poetry, including his best-known work, the epic poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Along with his writing, Byron was a member of the House of Lords, and seemed constantly involved in various romantic affairs and scandals. This led him to leave England in 1816, never to return. This collection was published in 1823, the year before he died. Item 45. $650.

Alexander Rare Books may reached at 802-476-0838 or alexanderbooks@charter.net Their website is found at www.AlexanderRareBooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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