Literature

Rare & Classic, American or English Literature Books for Sale Online

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Showing 1–16 of 2571 results

  • The Bishop-Stockhausen copy of the extraordinarily rare first issue of Shakespeare's Second Folio

    Shakespeare, William.

    Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression.

    London: Printed by Tho. Cotes, for Robert Allot 1632.

    The Bishop-Stockhausen copy of the extraordinarily rare first issue of Shakespeare’s Second Folio. Of the nine imprint variants of this edition noted by ESTC, this is the first (Todd 1a). Among the other variants are title-page imprints for the four other publishers (Smethwick, Aspley, Hawkins and Meighen) and two reissues of the edition ca. 1641 or later. Folio, bound in full eighteenth century blue morocco with gilt titles and elaborate gilt tooling to the spine in seven compartments with raised gilt bands, gilt cornerpieces within gilt frames with central bevels and gilt fleuroned inner frames to the front and rear panels, all edges gilt, slate gray endpapers. Binding attributed by Bishop and Stockhausen to Christian Samuel Kalthoeber, the leading and most highly-sought after artist-bookbinder in in late eighteenth century London. A German émigré, Kalthoeber create his own ornamental designed which were quickly copied and was patronized by King George III, novelist William Beckford and Catherine the Great. Engraved portrait or Shakespeare by Droeshout to the title page printed from the same plate as the First Folio opposite the initial leaf of Jonson’s verses, woodcut head and tail pieces. Todd’s imprint setting “A,” State 1b. It is believed there are fewer than 200 extant copies of the second folio which notably contains John Milton’s first appearance in print with “An Epitaph on the admirable Dramaticke Poet, W. Shakespeare” (A5r). In near fine condition. Provenance: Cortland Field Bishop (morocco label; AAA/Anderson, 14 November 1938, lot 2077) — Henry Walker & Nancy Reynolds Bagley (bookplate featuring their Greenwich residence) — William E. Stockhausen (Sotheby Parke Bernet, 19 November 1974, lot 399). Housed in a full custom morocco clamshell box. An extraordinary example, in terms of both condition and scarcity, easily the nicest example obtainable.

    Price: $500,000.00

  • "The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began. Now far away the Road was gone and I must follow if I can": J.R.R. Tolkien Signed Calligraphic Quote and Autograph Letter

    Tolkien, J.R.R.

    J.R.R. Tolkien Signed Calligraphic “The Road Goes Ever On and On” Quote and Autograph Letter.

    Exceptionally rare calligraphic quotation signed and entirely in the hand of J.R.R. Tolkien of The Road Goes Ever On, also known as A Walking Song, fictionally composed by Bilbo Baggins and first appearing in The Hobbit and later thrice in slightly differing versions throughout The Lord of the Rings. With the original autograph transmittal letter signed by Tolkien at the conclusion of which he has practiced his calligraphy for the final draft of the calligraphic quote. On Tolkien’s Merton College letterhead the letter reads, ‘Dear Mr. Hodgson, I am sorry that this letter dictated to my London secretary was not forwarded to you at once. It was sent to me for signature while I was away on a brief convalescence after being ill during January and February and the beginnings of March, and I regret that it came back with me, to become included in a heavy correspondence awaiting my return. With regard to the copy of the verses: I expect that it is only the first version L.R. I 44,82 and that also from version III 226 that you wish for. Do you wish for a copy in my normal hand in a more careful form (as here); or something more “calligraphic” in intention? But I warn you that neither will be very beautiful. My ageing hands are now losing their steadiness and such moderate skill as they ever had. “Yours sincerely J.R.R. Tolkien. The Road does ever on and on…The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where is began.” The letter is in fine condition and measures 7 inches by 5.25 inches. Double matted and framed, the final quotation, entirely in Tolkien’s hand reads, “The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began. Now far away the Road was gone and I must follow if I can. Pursuing it with eager feet, until it finds some larger way Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say. J.R.R. Tolkien.” Matted with a notation which reads, ‘From the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien Written Out by the Author 1973.’ In fine condition. Double matted and elaborately framed, the entire piece measures 21 inches by 18.5 inches. Exceptionally rare and desirable.

    Price: $150,000.00

  • First edition of the Ian Fleming’s first book Casino Royale which introduced the world to 007: Inscribed by Ian Fleming to Classmate and Novelist Ralph Arnold

    Fleming, Ian.

    Casino Royale.

    London: Jonathan Cape 1953.

    First edition of the first novel in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series. Octavo, original black cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Ralph, We have now both reduced our remainders by one copy! Ian.” With a note of explanation by the recipient underneath, “I having told Ian, from the depths of my publishing experience, that he would be lucky if he made £200 out of this, his first thriller!! R.A.” The recipient Ralph Arnold was a novelist, historical writer and publisher who joined Constable in 1936 and was chairman from 1958 to 1962. Arnold and Fleming studied together at the Tennerhof School in Kitzbühel, Austria, and it was there that both made their first forays into story-writing. Having left Sandhurst without obtaining a commission, Fleming “was sent to ‘sort himself out’ at a quasi-finishing school for men in Kitzbühel … There, while skiing and climbing mountains, he came under the benevolent tutelage of Ernan Forbes Dennis, a former British spy turned educationalist, and his wife, Phyllis Bottome, an established novelist. Forbes Dennis brought out Fleming’s aptitude for languages and introduced him to literature, while his wife encouraged him to write his first stories.” (Oxford DNB). Near fine in a near fine first state dust jacket (without the Sunday Times review on the inner front flap) with the lightest of rubbing to the extremities. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.

    Price: $150,000.00

  • "The Most Important Work of Modern Times": One of the Earliest Presentation Copies of James Joyce's Ulysses; Inscribed by Joyce to Lewis Galantiere

    Joyce, James.

    Ulysses.

    Paris: Shakespeare and Company 1922.

    First edition, one of 750 numbered copies, this example is number 282. Quarto, original blue wrappers as issued. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the half-title page, “To Lewis Galantiere James Joyce Paris 11 February 1922.” Ulysses was scheduled for publication on Joyce‘s fortieth birthday (February 2, 1922), but only two copies were ready on that date due to technical difficulties in printing the cover, the color of which Joyce wanted to match with the blue of the Greek flag. One of these was the copy delivered by Sylvia Beach to Joyce on February 2, which he then inscribed to his wife Nora, being the only known presentation copy to predate Galantiere’s. The present copy in turn predates by two days the three copies presented to Sylvia Beach, Harriet Shaw Weaver and Margaret Anderson, and by three days the copy inscribed to Robert McAlmon, who helped Joyce prepare the final typescript. Galantiere was an American translator of French literature, writer, playwright and journalist. From 1920 to 1927 he was secretary of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, and came to know most of the literary figures of the day, including Hemingway. In a letter to Harriet Weaver of 17 April 1926, Joyce writes: “I am to read [from Finnegans Wake] … to a small group, this time including … a young American Galantiere who is preparing a course of lectures of Ulysses” (Joyce Letters vol 3, p 140). Slocum & Cahoon A17; Connolly The Modern Movement 42. In excellent condition with light rubbing, rebacked without the folding flaps. With Galantiere’s marginal markings in pencil and in ink. Housed in a custom full morocco clamshell box. An exceptional rarity of this twentieth century milestone.

    Price: $150,000.00

  • “YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE: ONCE WHEN YOU ARE BORN AND ONCE WHEN YOU LOOK DEATH IN THE FACE”: COMPLETE SET OF IAN FLEMING'S JAMES BOND NOVELS; IN THE RARE ORIGINAL DUST JACKETS; WITH FIVE SIGNED BY SEAN CONNERY

    Fleming, Ian.

    Complete Set of 14 First Edition James Bond Novels: Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, Diamonds are Forever, From Russia with Love, Dr. No, Goldfinger, For Your Eyes Only (short stories including A View to a Kill and Quantum of Solace), Thunderball, The Spy Who loved Me, On Her Majesties Secret Service, You Only Live Twice, The Man with the Golden Gun, Octopussy and The Living Daylights.

    London: Jonathan Cape 1953-66.

    First editions of each volume in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series. Octavo, 14 volumes, original cloth. Each volume is fine in near fine to fine first-issue dust jackets, with with five signed by Sean Connery, which include: From Russia With Love, Dr. No, Diamonds Are Forever, Goldfinger and Thunderball each signed by Sean Connery. Each volume is housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional collection of first editions, most rare in this condition and signed.

    Price: $140,000.00

  • “INCOMPARABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE”: THE FOURTH FOLIO OF SHAKESPEARE

    Shakespeare, William.

    Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Fourth Folio.

    London: Printed for H. Herringman, and are to be sold by Joseph Knight and Francis Saunders 1685.

    First edition of the Fourth Folio of Shakespeare. Bound in full brown morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine. The fourth folio is the final and most magnificent of the four 17th-century folio editions of Shakespeare’s plays. The Fourth Folio “contains the additional seven plays that first appeared in the 1663 edition [including the authentic Pericles, Prince of Tyre], as well as a good deal of correction and modernization of the text designed to make it easier to read and understand” (Folger’s Choice). Old paper repair to verso of title-page, several other very minor paper repairs. Some browning and minimal staining, a very good example. As in some other copies, as Greg notes, number of errors in signatures have been corrected in manuscript, presumably at the time of publication. Although there is no accurate census of the number of folios still extant today, it is believed that copies of each printing number only in the hundreds. The rarest form of the fourth folio. This is the rare Knight and Saunders issue, with their names on the title-page. W. W. Greg observes, “Since the title is entirely reset it is presumably a cancel printed after the volume was complete and perhaps republished, and designed for those copies that Herringman chose to issue through his own booksellers” (Greg III, 1121). In 1684, Herringman turned over the retail side of his business to Francis Saunders and his partner Joseph Knight. Fourth Folios almost invariably bear the imprints “Herringman-Brewster-Bentley” or “Herringman-Brewster-Chiswell-Bentley.”

    Price: $100,000.00

  • "on her 21st birthday from her admirer": The Great Gatsby; Inscribed by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Fitzgerald, F. Scott.

    The Great Gatsby.

    New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons 1925.

    First edition, second printing of the author’s masterpiece. Octavo, original green cloth, gilt titles to the spine. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper,“For Esther Sidman on her 21st birthday from her admirer. F Scott Fitzgerald, Hollywood, 1938.” In near fine condition with a touch of wear. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Great Gatsby’s signed and inscribed by Fitzgerald are rare.

    Price: $92,000.00

  • First Edition of Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, In The Rare Original First-Issue Dust Jacket

    Hemingway, Ernest.

    The Sun Also Rises.

    New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1926.

    First edition, first issue of the first printing, with the misprint (“stoppped”) on page 181 line 26, in the first issue dust jacket with the misprint on the front panel (“In Our Times” vs. “In Our Time”). Octavo, original black cloth. Fine in a near fine first issue dust jacket without any restoration. The Annette Campbell-White copy brought $120,000 at Sotheby’s in 2007. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional example.

    Price: $75,000.00

  • "Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home": First Edition of Ulysses; One of 750 Numbered Copies

    Joyce, James.

    Ulysses.

    Paris: Shakespeare & Company 1922.

    First edition, one of 750 numbered copies on handmade paper from a total edition of 1000 copies, this is number 992. Thick quarto, original blue and white wrappers. A near fine example, internally fresh and largely unopened, completely unrestored. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. This example contains the original prospectus with the tipped-on reproduction of the 1918 photo of Joyce by C. Ruf. The front panel of the prospectus has been amended, as often, to indicate the book “is now ready,” and the original buyer must have jumped at the opportunity, as the order panel of the prospectus has been neatly cut away. Sisley Huddleston’s 5 March 1922 review from The Observer is also laid in (though both items are in prophylactic sleeves that have prevented any offsetting). Also laid into the slipcase is some correspondence relating to the sale of this copy in 1972 by Duschnes in New York City. An exceptional example with noted provenance.

    Price: $75,000.00

  • Jack Kerouac Autographed Manuscript

    Kerouac, Jack.

    Jack Kerouac Autographed Manuscript.

    Jack Kerouac’s candid handwritten reply to a young man’s questions about being a “Beatnik,” his life philosophy, his thoughts on Montana, and more. Students in Robert Dodd’s ninth-grade class were told to contact their favorite writer with their own unique series of questions relating specifically to that writer. The young Dodd chose Jack Kerouac, and the author replied at length to his questionnaire, which includes queries about his classification as a “Beatnik” (his answer: “I never was a Beatnik – it was the newspapers and critics who tagged that label on me….”), life philosophy (“My philosophy is ‘No Philosophy,’ just ‘Things-As-They-Are’”), career goals (“Be a great writer making everybody believe in Heaven”), the ideal way of life (“Hermit in the woods…”), his thoughts on fame (“My name is like Crackerjacks, famous, but very few people buy my books…”), and segregation (“[t]he Irish and Italians of Massachusetts never paraded in protest, just worked hard and made it”). Interestingly, Kerouac is most expansive in response to the final question: whether he has visited Montana. His answer fills three-quarters of the page, beginning: “Great day, my favorite state! – I wrote about Montana in ‘On the Road’ but the publishers took it out behind my back… I stayed one night, but up all night, in a saloon in Butte, to keep out of the 40-below February cold, among sheep ranchers playing poker.” Two pages. In near fine condition.

    Price: $75,000.00

  • "Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird"; First edition of To Kill A Mockingbird; Signed by Harper Lee and Truman Capote

    Lee, Harper (Truman Capote).

    To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company 1960.

    First edition of Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel which had an initial first printing of 5,000 copies. Octavo, original green cloth backed brown boards, titles to spine in gilt. Signed by both Harper Lee and Truman Capote on the front free endpaper. Truman Capote’s friendship with Harper Lee began in the summer of 1929 when the two became next door neighbors in Monroeville, Alabama; both were the age of five. They shared a love of reading and began collaborating when Lee was gifted a typewriter by her father as a child. Lee drew on their friendship as inspiration for the characters Lee and Scout in her masterpiece To Kill A Mockingbird; Capote based his tomboy character Idabel Thompkins in his first novel Other Voices, Other Rooms on Lee. They worked together on Capote’s true crime novel, In Cold Blood; Lee acted as his ‘assistant reasearchist’ and edited the final draft of the book. Upon its publication in 1965, Capote failed to acknowledge Lee’s contributions to the book, after which their relationship was never the same. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with light rubbing and wear to the extremities. Jacket design by Shirley Smith. Photograph by Truman Capote. Housed in a custom full morocco clamshell box. Exceptionally rare, this is the first example we have seen signed by both Lee and Capote.

    Price: $72,000.00

  • "It is not down on any map; true places never are": Rare First Edition Of Herman Melville's Moby Dick

    Melville, Herman.

    Moby Dick; Or, The Whale.

    New York: Harper & Brothers 1851.

    First edition, first issue binding, with the circular Harper’s device of Melville’s masterpiece. Octavo, original purple-brown cloth (BAL’s A grain), covers stamped in blind with the publisher’s circular device at the center within a heavy blind rule frame, original orange-coated endpapers. A near fine condition with some of the usual light foxing and light shelfwear to the spine tips. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. A completely unrestored example of this cornerstone. A superior example.

    Price: $65,000.00

  • "If you liked The Great Gatsby, for God's sake read this. Gatsby was a tour de force but this is a confession of faith": First Edition of Tender Is the Night; Inscribed by F. Scott Fitzgerald To Hollywood Producer Harry Joe Brown

    Fitzgerald, F. Scott.

    Tender Is The Night. A Romance. Decorations by Edward Shenton.

    New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1934.

    First edition of the work which Fitzgerald considered to be his finest. Octavo, original green cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper with a full page inscription, “For Harry Joe Brown – late of the 17th Infantry Brigade. Wounded in Hollywood 1920-1940. – from his fellow dough boy F Scott Fitzgerald Encino, 1939.” The recipient, Harry Joe Brown was a Hollywood producer, who Fitzgerald noted meeting in late 1939: “Somewhere around this time [September 1939] Harry Joe Brown called me over to Twentieth Century Fox on a Sonja Heine picture” (Letter to the Berg-Allenberg Agency, 23 February 1940). Fitzgerald had been contracted as a writer by Metro Goldwyn Meyer Studios in the July of 1937, initially for six months. His contract was then extended for another year, but when this lapsed in December 1938 MGM did not renew it. Over the next two years, Fitzgerald freelanced for numerous studios on a number of films, including Everything Happens at Night for which Brown was an associate producer. An excellent near fine example in a very good first issue dust jacket with some light wear. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.

    Price: $65,000.00

  • "If you liked The Great Gatsby, for God's sake read this. Gatsby was a tour de force but this is a confession of faith": First Edition of Tender Is the Night; Inscribed by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Fitzgerald, F. Scott.

    Tender Is The Night. A Romance. Decorations by Edward Shenton.

    New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1934.

    First edition of the work which Fitzgerald considered to be his finest. Octavo, original green cloth. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “For the unknown, unmet parents of Clare (note: double underlined). Knowing her, I hope you will find something to like in this present. Best wishes, F. Scott Fitzgerald.” A very good example with some wear to the crown and foot of the spine, extremities of the cloth in a very good unrestored first issue dust jacket that has some rubbing and wear. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell and chemise case.

    Price: $58,000.00

  • “What does the brain matter compared with the heart?”: First Edition of Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway; In the Rare Original Dust Jacket

    Woolf, Virginia.

    Mrs Dalloway.

    London: Hogarth Press 1925.

    First edition of one of Woolf’s best-known novels, one of only 2000 copies. Octavo, original orange cloth. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with some light wear to the extremities. From the library of Virginia bibliophile and historian Christopher Clark Geest with his bookplate to the pastedown. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional example, scarce and desirable in the original dust jacket and in this condition.

    Price: $56,000.00