London: William Heinemann, 1921. Hardcover. Inscribed by Beerbohm with Autograph Letter Signed laid in. The book is inscribed on the half title to S.J. Williams, “Dear Mr. Williams I am so very glad you see to like [And Even Now] and I thank you very much - Max Beerbohm May, 1943.” Laid in is a letter to Williams along with the envelope in which it was sent. The letterhead is “Abinger Manor Cottage, Abinger Common, Nr. Dorking.” In this charming letter Beerbohm writes: “June 15 1943/Dear Mr. Williams/I write to tell you, with many thanks, how proud I am to be the subject of an epigram so perfect in pre-, com-, and incision. Epigrams are usually unkind in wit. Wit and kindness are rather distantly related to each other. But here they seem to be [the word are is crossed out below this] brother and sister, and will abide in my heart as well as in my brain. With kindest regards from my wife and me to Mrs. Williams and to you, I am sincerely and gratefully yours, Max Beerbohm.” The envelope is addressed S.J. Williams, Prof/Queens’ College/Cambridge. The flap of the envelope is affixed to the front endpaper opposite the half title page. There is one fold in the letter otherwise in fine condition. Book is bound in original yellow cloth with paper title label to spine. Soiled and bumped but in very good condition. Interior pages are clean and tight. 320 pages. LIT/042012. Very Good.
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London: Smith, Elder,and Co, 1880. Hardcover. First Edition. AN IMPORTANT PRESENTATION COPY, inscribed “Mrs Proctor, with RB’s affectionate regards June 27 ‘80.” Anne Proctor’s husband, the barrister and poet Bryan W. Proctor (who wrote under the pseudonym Barry Cornwall), was the dedicatee of Browning’s poem “Columbe’s Birthday” (1844). The Proctors were among the Brownings’ closest friends. Proctor and John Forster anonymously edited the first selection from Browning’s works in the 1860s. Near fine in original brown cloth with gilt title to spine. Light rubbing to edges and corners. There is browning from a paper clip to the top edge of the first few pages, else the interior is very clean. 147 pages plus 2 pages of advertisements. POE/020309. Near Fine.
London: T. Unwin Fisher, 1898. Hardcover. First English edition of Conrad's first collection of short stories, published in both America and England in 1898. Author's presentation copy, inscribed “For J. B. Pinker, Joseph Conrad.” The book marks the first stage of Conrad learning to write for popular magazines: "in that book I come nearer to the popular notion of tale-telling than in any previous work of mine" (writing to Unwin, Collected Letters, II., p.48). Pinker was one of the first literary agents in London, and became one of the most important agents of the twentieth century, with such clients as H.G. Wells, Stephen Crane, Henry James, and Ford Madox Ford. Pinker was “superbly attuned to the changing economic climate of the 1890s publishing market and served the interests of several 'difficult' writers with a skillful blend of shrewdness, tact, generosity, and long-suffering” (Knowles and Moore). This could not have been better demonstrated than with his relationship with Conrad, in which the agent was required to play many roles: friend, banker, father-figure and general factotum. Pinker could see Conrad's potential, but in many ways the author was ill-placed to survive the cutthroat market of the time, committed as he was “to a form of experimental novel, the unpredictable gestation of which involved an enormous amount of energy, time, and living costs” (op.cit.) As Conrad later gratefully acknowledged, Pinker believed in him and backed him for the long term, bankrolling him through the lean years when he had yet to be a commercial success, in the hope of future payments and royalties. Conrad was forced to split himself between his long serious projects like Nostromo and Under Western Eyes and more commercial journalistic material. Tensions were high between author and agent in these years between 1904 and 1910, with Pinker being asked for larger and larger advances to fund medical costs, household bills and overseas trips. The agent's requests for itemization and justification were resented by Conrad, and he sometimes resisted his agent's attempts to link payments to fixed amounts of delivered copy. In December 1909 Pinker's patience finally snapped after the author had been working on Under Western Eyes for two years and then broke off, against his agent's wishes, to write for the English Review. Pinker threatened to cut off all funds; his author retaliated by threatening to throw the manuscript into the fire. After an explosive row the two did not speak for two years. After the dramatic upturn in Conrad's popularity and finances after 1914 the author could finally begin to settle his debts, and the two men resumed their relationship, meeting weekly, spending weekends at each other's homes, and even collaborating on a screenplay. Conrad later wrote: “those books which, people say, are an asset of English Literature owe their existence to Mr. Pinker as much as to me. For 15 years of my writing life he has seen me through periods of unproductiveness[,] through illnesses[,] through all sorts of troubles...” (Collected Letters, V, p.619). Conrad was deeply affected by his agent's sudden death in 1922. Bound in original green cloth with light bumping to corners. Offsetting to free front endpaper not affecting the legibility of inscription. Text block has pulled away from front hinge but still tight although some interior gutters visible. Library stamp on rear pastedown, offsetting and piece of rear free endpaper torn away. Housed in a green cloth slipcase. With bookplate of book collector Stanley J. Seeger. Very good condition despite noted flaws. 297 pages. LIT/011116. Very Good.
London: Cassell and Co., and John Lane The Bodley Head, 1934. Hardcover. First Edition. An interesting and unusual presentation copy from the editor to Clementine Churchill, wife of Winston: "To Mrs. Churchill, these poems from the day when Fanny's First Play was written; and in memory of the pleasure of seeing it in her company. August 11, 1935 Desmond Flower." The inscription makes reference to Fanny's First Play, written anonymously in 1911 by G. Bernard Shaw. Desmond Flower (1907-1997) was a publisher, collector, and writer. He joined his father's publishing house, Cassell, and remained there until it was sold in 1966 following his father's death. Cassell's was the publisher for many major writers, but Flower's most important writer was Winston Churchill, editing and publishing his History of English Speaking People and the History of the Second World War. Bound in publisher's original green cloth with title and author in gilt to spine. Binding and text in near fine condition. In original dust jacket which is torn and tattered, and now protected by a mylar cover. 297 pages. POE/052913. Near Fine / Chipped and Torn.
London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1893. Maurice Greiffenhagen. Hardcover. First Edition of this Aztec romance. Author's Presentation Copy, inscribed "To Andrew from his affec brother H Rider Haggard 1894." Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925) was the author of a number of adventure novels set in exotic locales. His books, including She and King Solomon's Mines, are still popular today. Haggard traveled to Mexico in 1891 to do research for this book and sadly his young son died while he was away. The book describes the first interactions between the Spanish and South American natives, as well as murders, shipwrecks, and slavery. Colonel Andrew Haggard, who had a distinguished military career - he was one of he first British officers to command in the Egyptian army - was also a successful novelist, travel writer and poet. It is known that Andrew helped Rider with the writing of Dawn and he likely played an important role in helping his younger brother with the several bestsellers which revolved around Egypt and mummies. There are 25 black and white illustrations by the British painter and illustrator Maurice Greiffenhagen. He was Haggard's friend, which led him to illustrate several of his adventure books, starting with She in 1889. Bound in the original publisher's blue-green cloth with gilt author and title to front cover and spine. Light bumping, small chip to bottom of faded spine. Hinges a bit tender but text block is tight. Interior pages are clean. Bookplate of collector Mark Samuels Lasner to front pastedown. Very good condition. 325 pages plus 24 page publisher's catalog. LIT/012016. Very Good.
London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1905. Hardcover. First Edition. RARE PRESENTATION COPY. Edith Nesbit (1858-1924) was an English author and poet who is best known today for her children’s books. Publishing under E. Nesbit, she wrote or collaborated on over sixty books for children. She was a follower of William Morris and one of the founders of the Fabian Society, the British socialist movement. This book is inscribed: “To Olindo Malagodi from E. Nesbit July 1905.” Malagodi (1870-1934) was a prominent Italian liberal journalist and writer. He trained as a journalist in Britain, became the London correspondent for several newspapers, and eventually became the editor of La Tribuna in Rome. He was a close friend of Nesbit and her husband, Hubert Bland, eventually living near them as he raised his family. His son, Giovanni became an important Italian politician. Bound in the original green cloth with lovely floral and fleur-de-lis design in gilt on front cover along with author and title. Light bumping and small light stain to top of rear cover; otherwise in beautiful condition. Front and rear endpapers are foxed but interior pages are bright and clean. Each section is preceded by a blank page with a flower illustration. Each flower is a different color. Nesbit’s books of verse are uncommon and nearly impossible to find signed. 143 pages plus 4 pages of advertisements for Nesbit’s books. POE/050611. Very Good.
London: C. Kegan Paul and Co., 1879. Hardcover. Scarce first edition. Presentation copy to Lewis Campbell: "Professor Lewis Campbell from his friend the author, January 17th 1879." Campbell (1830 - 1908) was a professor of Greek at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. English author, poet, and philanthropist Emily Pfeiffer (1827 - 1890) was self educated as her family did not have enough money to send her to school. Upon her death, she left most of her acquired property and assets to establish an orphanage for girls and to be used to promote women's education. This volume includes Pfeiffer's original poetry and her translations of work by the German poet, Heinrich Heine. She also reprints her poem 'Madonna Dunya,' which first appeared in 'Contemporary Review' and she defends it against the accusation that it was not an original piece, but rather a translation from a Russian saga. Very good in original green cloth boards with gilt title to spine and front cover. Black decorative border to boards and spine. Cloth along top of both hinges is split about an inch and interior hinges are cracked. Wear and rubbing to edges, corners, and boards. The interior is clean overall with a few small spots of foxing and corrections in pen to pages 45, 47, and 113, which appear to be in the author's hand. 144 pages plus 40 pages of advertisements. POE/011916. Very Good.
London: Chatto & Windus, 1894. First Edition. Hardcover. Signed Presentation Copy. 8vo. In original dark blue cloth. An extraordinary association copy, inscribed "Mary C. J. Leith from her affectionate cousin A.C. Swinburne Nov. 8, 1894." Mary Gordon, later Mrs. Leith, was Swinburne's first cousin and by far the most important woman in his life apart from his mother. Herself a poet and novelist, Mary Gordon's intimacy began in childhood when they lived in neighboring houses on the Isle of Wight. Later their relationship became literary, Swinburne providing the poems that appear in Gordon's anonymously issued "The Children of the Chapel" in 1864, and Gordon appearing as Clara in Swinburne's own novel, "A Year's Letters," first serialized in The Tatler in 1877. It was published in book form in 1905 as "Love's Cross-Currents." In her memoir, Gordon wrote that Swinburne [was] to me as an elder brother, a loved and sympathetic playmate, and in later years a loyal and affectionate friend. Although there is no direct evidence, recent scholarship has identified Gordon as most likely Swinburne's sole romantic attachment, which ended in traumatic rejection. This book was probably inscribed after Gordon visited Swinburne and Watts-Dunton at The Pines in the fall of 1894. In 1899, Swinburne dedicated his last major poetic work, "Rosamund, Queen of the Lombards," to Mrs. Disney Leither. Swinburne is better known for his lyric poetry, but he was also a prolific and well regarded literary critic. The collection of some of his critcal writings include essays on Sir Walter Scott, Wilkie Collins, Beaumont and Fletcher, Whitman, and more. Bound in publisher's original dark blue cloth with gilt rule to front cover borders and title and author in gilt to spine. Light offsetting to free endpapers otherwise near fine condition. LIT/101304. Near Fine.
London and Cambridge: Macmillan and Co., 1864. Hardcover. FIRST EDITION. PRESENTATION COPY to Louis Tennyson d’Eyncourt inscribed: “The gift of the author ... to L.T. d’Eyncourt.” The recipient was the author’s cousin and a member of the part of the family which inherited the property, fortune, and aristocratic ambitions of their grandfather. Charles was the older brother of the renowned poet Alfred Tennyson. Very good in original green cloth boards with lightly rubbed gilt title to spine and gilt rules to front board. Minor wear to corners and edges of boards, with a few light spots of damp staining to rear board. Bump to top edge of front board. Bookplate of C.J. Sturman to front paste down. 102 pages plus 2 pages of notes. POE/043009. Very Good.