London: Chiswick Press [Privately printed], 1888. Paperback. First Edition. Scarce. Presentation copy inscribed "To F. Coylestone with best wishes T. Ashe Feb. 1888." Thomas Ashe (1836-1889) was a minor English poet who was admired by some, including Michael Field, but his work was not popular with his generation. He has risen far enough to be included in many recent anthologies of mid-to late- Victorian verse. In original paper wrappers. Covers stained, creased on right corner, and chipped along edges. Hinges tender but text block is tight and clean. Very good condition. 84 pages. POE/102714. Very Good.
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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: William Heinemann, 1904. Hardcover. First Edition of the English version of the first published issue, written when Galsworthy was only 37 years old. An important literary association copy, inscribed "Jan 29 1904. To W. H. Hudson from John Galsworthy." The book had been published the day before. W.H. Hudson, author of Green Mansions, for which Galsworthy wrote the introduction, was one of Galsworthy's close friends and the dedicatee of his 1907 novel The Country House. While signed copies of Galsworthy's early books are not uncommon, contemporary presentation copies are rare. Bound in original green cloth with gilt title and author to spine and gilt title in script across front cover. Some fading and rubbing. Hinges are tender but text block is solid. Housed in a handsome green quarter leather slipcase. With book plate of Joseph Fisher Loewi to front pastedown and Hugh Roberts Parrish on slipcase. Very good condition. 311 pages. LIT/011216. Very Good.
London and New York: Bliss, Sands and Foster; Brentano's, 1894. Hardcover. First Edition. Presentation Copy, inscribed on free front endpaper "To the 'Star Barker' of our house, whose sunny nature excuses a dozen faults, and whose tiny, rippling laugh makes serious work impossible - but whom we would not do without - With the fondest love of his mother - The Author," and further inscribed "To Karl Martin, Buffalo, June 20 1901." The recipient of this extravagant inscription was the author's son. Jones was an American writer and this is the uncommon English issue of this book. The stories are of a science fiction / fantasy nature. Bound in brown cloth with delicate cream and green design of cupids and title and author in gilt. Edges are worn and chipped. Interior pages have some browning along margins. There is some splitting of the signatures but the text block remains solid. In very good condition. 95 pages. LIT/010413. Very Good.
London: William Rider & Son, 1899. Hard Cover. First Edition. Inscribed by the author "L. Gesner from J.C.P." on the front free endpaper. Bookplate of Herbert Mortimer and Louise Cheney Gesner to front pastedown. John Cowper Powys (1872-1963) was an eminent English novelist, poet, critic, and philosopher. This early work was his second published book. In original cream paper covered boards with an elaborate gilt design by Gleeson White. The spine is browned and worn. Minor wear and browning to edges of boards, hinges, and corners. Interior pages have some aging to edges, an occasional pencil mark, and a pencil comment regarding one poem. 123 pages. Very good condition. POE/122018. Very Good.
London and Chicago: John Lane and the Bodley Head and Stone and Kimball, 1895. Patten Wilson. Hardcover. First Edition, Private Issue. Presentation Copy. This is the very scarce private version of Frederick Tennyson's last book. With a handwritten limitation notice on the half-title "Twenty five vellum bound copies of the first edition have been issued for private circulation, This is No. 16." It is inscribed: "To the Revd. W.B. Macleod With Capt. J. Tennyson's & the Authors Compliments Jersey Jan 1896." The recipient was the author of Frederick Tennyson: His Life and Work, published in 1896. Frederick Tennyson (1807-1898) was a poet and the older brother of Alfred Tennyson. Although a gifted poet, he was overshadowed by his brother throughout his life. Captain Julius Tennyson was the author's only son, and the book is dedicated to him and his sister, Sophia, whom Frederick called the companions of his old age. In original vellum with gilt title and author to spine, and gilt florettes and initial "F" to front cover. The spine is darkened and the covers are soiled and bumped but still nice. In very good condition with darkening to page edges. Frontispiece photograph of Tennyson and title page design by illustrator Patten Wilson. A lovely book with a charming association. 163 pages plus tipped-in errata sheet and 16 pages of publisher ads. POE/061313. Very Good.
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.