Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2018 Issue

Twentieth Century Writers and Poets – At Home and In Print from Peter Grogan

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Catalogue Four.

Peter Grogan has published his Catalogue Four. While there is no more specific title or description, what you will find here is literature and poetry, the writings of authors and poets. Those two groupings are not synonymous in this catalogue. Much of what you will find is the writings of these individuals, but not their works. Rather, they are letters and other personal correspondence, both from and to these writers. Much of it is of a personal nature, occasionally romantic, other correspondence more businesslike between writers and publishers. One other common thread to point out is that almost all of the material, both books and manuscripts, come from the twentieth century. Here are a few of the over 350 items to be found within.

 

First we have a signed copy of Flush, by Virginia Woolf, published in 1933. It is a fictional, somewhat real look at the world from the perspective of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's dog, Flush. It is designated the "large paper" first edition, but was the only contemporary edition. What makes this copy unusual is that it comes with a note from Mrs. Sidney Woolf, Virginia's mother-in-law. Clichés about mother-in-laws notwithstanding, the elder Mrs. Woolf must have been proud of her daughter-in-law. She sends the signed copy of Virginia's book to a friend, and in the note writes, "I hope you will like 'Flush' as much as I do, also that my daughter-in-law having autographed the copy will add to its interest. Yrs affectionately Marie Woolf." Also included is a preliminary sketch by Virginia Woolf's sister, Vanessa Bell, for "Miss Mitford takes Flush for a Walk." Item 342. Priced at £5,950 (British pounds, or approximately $8,205 in U.S. dollars).

 

For all her accomplishments, and bright periods, Virginia Woolf lived a troubled life. She was institutionalized for depression as a young woman after the death of her father, and had recurring bouts of depression and deeper forms of mental illness. Over the decades after her father's death, she wrote many novels and other works, had affairs with women but still a successful marriage to Leonard Woolf. Unfortunately, the mental troubles finally became to much, and as she felt herself drifting off into madness one more time in 1941, she filled her coat pockets with rocks, walked into a river, and drowned. Item 86 consists of three letters of condolence to Virginia's sister, Vanessa Bell, from the spring of 1941. They come from Violet Dickinson. Dickinson was a tall woman, six feet, a family friend of the Stephens (Virginia's family), half a generation older and a source of great support for Virginia over the years after her father died. £750 (US $1,034).

 

Next is a set of artwork for one of the most popular series of children's books, those of Orlando the Marmalade Cat. The author and illustrator for these feline adventures was Kathleen Hale, with titles being published from 1938-1972. Orlando lived with his wife, Grace, and three kittens, Blanche, Pansy, and Tinkle. Item 155 consists of Hale's original artwork for Orlando the Marmalade Cat Goes to the Moon. As that book was published in 1968, Orlando evidently beat Neil Armstrong by at least a year. There are two illustrations in crayon and pencil for page 4 of the book on space travel. One depicts Orlando and Grace dressing the children for the trip. They use goldfish bowls for helmets. The second shows their space suits being filled with air from a bellows. Hale has written the caption, "Master kindly pumped up the Space Suits with the bellows." She has also written a cautionary note, perhaps to herself, "Bowl too small an opening to fit over B and P's heads." £750 (US $1,034).

 

This is one of the most influential of novels of the twentieth century. It covers but one day in the life of Dubliner Leopold Bloom, and one can only imagine how long this book would be if James Joyce had decided to cover, say, a week of his life. Item 186 is a first edition of Ulysses, published by Shakespeare & Company of Paris in 1922. It was published in 1,000 copies, this being one of 750 on hand-made paper. A Parisian publisher might sound odd for a book in English, but this book was not likely to get through censors in the English-speaking world, at least not England or America. It had been serialized before being released in book form and as such, it was already under attack for obscenity. France is a bit more liberal about these things, so Sylvia Beach took on the job for her Shakespeare & Co. and in time, the objections to the book went away. £35,000 (US $48,221).

 

Speaking of being published in Paris, item 210 is a complete run through Fall 2016 (#218) of the Paris Review. Naturally, it includes 218 issues. It began publishing in 1953, and we need at add an asterisk to the point about being published in Paris. It was back in 1953 when founded, and for the next two decades, but in 1973, it moved to New York. However, the name remained the same. For the first 50 years, until his death in 2003, it was edited by co-founder "Paper Lion" George Plimpton. Numerous household names have seen their writing pass through the Review's pages, including Kerouac, Roth, Southern, Larkin, Beckett and Genet. £5,750 (US $7,932).

 

Peter Grogan of London may be reached at 07810 766737 or peter@petergrogan.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Albert Einstein A remarkable letter on God in English, one of his most eloquent and quoted, 1 p, July 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Benjamin Lincoln's commission as Major General in the Continental Army, February 19th, 1777. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Broadside. A Poem Upon the Bloody Engagement That Was Fought on Bunker's-Hill. 1775. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Early, full printing of the Star-Spangled Banner in The Yankee, October 7, 1814. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Paul Revere. Engraving, “The Boston Massacre Perpetrated on March 5, 1770," in <i>Massachusett's Calendar 1772.</i> $8,000 to $12,000.
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    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Earliest known newspaper coverage of Babe Ruth, "a St Mary's schoolboy," Baltimore, April 4, 1914. $6,000 to $9,000
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    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Smith, Joseph. <i>The Book of Mormon.</i> Palmyra: Printed by E.B. Grandin for the Author, 1830. First printing. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Last Words of Joseph Smith. Autograph Letter Signed from a Mormon disciple, conveying a contemporary account of the Prophet's final words, Nauvoo, July 27, 1844. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> John Brown's Body. Autograph Letter Signed from the daughter of John Brown attempting to arrange the return of her father's body, North Elba, Essex Co, NY, November 29, 1859. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Powell Expedition. Autograph diary of Rhodes C. Allen kept during the Powell Expedition of 1868, June 29, 1868 - November 16, 1868. $20,000 to $40,000
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Walt Whitman. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> First edition, first issue, SIGNED in block letters by Whitman. 1855. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Isaac Newton's copy of John Greave's <i>Pyramidographia,</i> London, 1646. $50,000 to $70,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Colonel John Mosby. Robert E. Lee's autograph letter to Samuel Cooper reporting on Mosby's exploits, with Cooper's autograph note ordering his appointment to Major.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Gyula Halasz Brassai. Large archive of autograph and typed letters, over 260, to his family including his wife Gilberte, 1947-1978. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Archive of drawings and letters from Harper Lee to Charles Carruth, including an inscribed first edition of <i>To Kill a Mockingbird.</i> $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> VESALIUS, ANDREAS. 1514-1564. <i>De humani corporis fabrica libri septem.</i> Basel: Johannes Oporinus, June 1543. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. 1578-1657. <i>De motu cordis & sanguinis in animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Leiden: Joannis Maire, 1639. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> BERENGARIO DA CARPI, GIACOMO. 1460-1530. <i>Isagogae breves perlucide ac uberrimae in Anatomiam humani corporis.</i> Bologna: Benedictus Hectoris, 15 July 1523. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790. <i>Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America…</i> London, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> BENIVIENI, ANTONIO. 1443-1502. <i>De abditis nonnullis ac mirandis morborum et sanationum causis.</i>Florence: Filippo Giunta, 1507. $8,000 to $12,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, <i>El Ingenioso Hildalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha . . . Nueva Edición,</i> first Ibarra edition, Madrid, 1780. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Illuminated Prayer Book in Latin and French, France, 1530-40s. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin, France, mid-15th century. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b><br><i>Die Ernsthaffte Christenpflicht,</i> earliest known edition of the first complete Mennonite prayer book, 1708. $300 to $500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Georg Agricola, <i>De ortu & causis subterraneorum Lib V.,</i> first edition, Basel, 1546. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Frederick Ruysch, <i>Icon durae matris in concava [convexa] superficie visae,</i> with 2 mezzotints by Jan Ladmiral, first edition, Amsterdam, 1737. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, <i>Eine Neue Art von Strahlen,</i> Würzburg, 1895. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Pietro Carrera, <i>Il Gioco de gli Scacchi,</i> first edition, Militello, 1617. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> William Lithgow, <i>The Totall Discourse, of the Rare Adventures</i> [etc.], London, 1632. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Mar 7:</b> Michel de Nostradamus, <i>The True Prophecies or Prognostications,</i> first complete edition in English, London, 1672. $2,500 to $3,500.
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