Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: The Record of a Journey Through Yugoslavia in 1937.

"I had come to Yugoslavia to see what history meant in flesh and blood": Rebecca West's Masterpiece; Inscribed by the author in volume one

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: The Record of a Journey Through Yugoslavia in 1937.

WEST, Rebecca.


Item Number: 129759

London: Macmillan, 1941.

First edition, second printing of Rebecca West’s masterpiece. Octavo, 2 volumes, original green cloth, cartographic endpapers. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the half-title page, “With all wishes to Kathleen Flint from Rebecca West- 1943.” Both volumes are in very good condition, recipient’s name to the front free endpaper. Scarce and desirable signed by West.

Part travelogue, part history, part love letter on a thousand-page scale, Rebecca West's Black Lamb and Grey Falcon is a genre-bending masterwork written in elegant prose. But what makes it so unlikely to be confused with any other book of history, politics, or culture--with, in fact, any other book--is its unashamed depth of feeling: think The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire crossed with Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. West visited Yugoslavia for the first time in 1936. What she saw there affected her so much that she had to return--partly, she writes, because it most resembled "the country I have always seen between sleeping and waking," and partly because "it was like picking up a strand of wool that would lead me out of a labyrinth in which, to my surprise, I had found myself immured." Black Lamb is the chronicle of her travels, but above all it is West following that strand of wool: through countless historical digressions; through winding narratives of battles, slavery, and assassinations; through Shakespeare and Augustine and into the very heart of human frailty. "A masterpiece . . . as astonishing in its range, in the subtlety and power of its judgment, as it is brilliant in expression" (The Times, London). "There are only a few great travel books. Rebecca West's Black Lamb and Grey Falcon is one" (Larry McMurtry). Named by Modern Library as one of the 100 greatest non-fiction books of the twentieth century.

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