Essex, UK: . Three nice handwritten letters from Coulson Kernahan related to publishing matters. Kernahan (1858-1943) was a prolific writer and editor, reading and editing submissions for publisher Ward, Lock & Co. among other efforts. He was their copy editor for Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Two of the three letters are dated 1896 and the third undated one pertains to content in one of the previous letters. All were sent on printed letterhead “Thrums,” Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. The first two-page letter is addressed to Mr. Tickell. In it Kernahan apologizes for taking so long in getting back to him and then turns down an invitation to write a story for a publication he refers to as “BW.” He also writes that one of his works, “A Literary Gent,” is a Ward Lock copyright but says they would probably agree to have it reprinted for “some small sum.” He goes on to talk about manuscripts submitted [does not say where] for a 200 pound prize. The second one-page letter is sent to “Dear Sirs.” Kernahan writes to say that he had expected three manuscripts to be read for his proposed honorarium of 9 pounds, or 3 pounds each. To his surprise he received seven manuscripts and states that the honorarium must be adjusted but instead of asking for 21 pounds, states he would be satisfied with 15 pounds. The third letter of 1.5 pages is a cover letter to a report that he is sending offering his opinions of the stories reviewed. He says that he reads manuscripts for possible publication with two considerations in mind. The first is the literary quality of the work, and the second is for the potential popularity of the piece - ”to put myself, so to speak in the place of the public which buys and enjoys books which the literary [part of word obscured] journals condemn.” The letters are quite legible despite soiling and darkening to paper. The letters appear to have been previously affixed to something, two with glue on the back and one by tape to the left margins, with some remnants still attached. Light creases where folded. 7 x 9 inches. AUTO/113016. Very Good -.
London: Stangeways and Walden, . First edition. A unique and most interesting offering - a scarce privately printed book accompanied by only recently published handwritten letters from Rossetti's brother, William Michael (the texts of the letters were published for the first time in "Notes and Queries," Oxford University Press, in January 17, 2011). This is a privately printed edition of a story that had first appeared in The Germ in 1850. Dante Gabriel Rossetti originally intended to include this prose story in his volume of verse, but decided not to following the recovery of his poetical manuscript notebook from the grave of his wife, Elizabeth Siddal. This short story offers a manifesto for the Aesthetic and Decadent movements. It tells the tale of a fictional Renaissance poet who realizes that the artist's only duty is to express what is in his soul. This pamphlet is an offprint from the typesetting found in proofs produced between October 30 and November 25 1869. William Rossetti notes when his brother excluded the story from his published verse he had various copies of Hand and Soul done up in drab wrappers, and that he gave some away but never sold them. Both Thomas Wise and Charles Fairfax Murray state, without citing any authority, that one hundred copies were printed. About thirty can now be accounted for. All but a handful are in institutional collections, most deriving from a cache discovered by William after Dante Gabriel's death in 1882. William Michael Rossetti sent this copy to an admirer of his family, Louisa Douglas Summerbell. She was an artist and illuminator much influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites. Rossetti has inscribed the book "To Miss L. Douglas Summerbell with the friendly regards of Wm. Rossetti June 1896." Written above this in William's hand is a six-line explanation of the pamphlet's publishing history. Bound in are five important signed autograph letters, seventeen pages in all, from William Rossetti to Miss Summerbell, written between 1896 and 1906, in which he discusses at length the writings of Dante Gabriel, Christina and himself. In original buff printed wrappers that Summerbell had neatly sewn into limp green cloth along with the letters and laid into a beautiful 19th-century handmade leather case showing some rubbing. On the preliminary leaf of the cloth bound book is a note that it had passed to her friend, Ruth Johnston. From the celebrated poetry collection of Gerald N. Wachs and included in an exhibition of his collection at the Grolier Club in 1995. Pamphlet in very good collection bound into near fine cloth book. Housed in a green cloth covered clamshell box with black and gilt title label to spine. Near Fine.