First Edition of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy: Northern Lights; Warmly inscribed by Him
His Dark Materials Trilogy: Northern Lights.
Item Number: 99738
London: Scholastic, 1995.
First edition of Pullman’s first book in his acclaimed Dark Materials trilogy. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the half-title page, “For Robert, in the hope that you’ll enjoy this fantasy Philip Pullman.” Fine in a fine first issue dust-jacket with ‘Point’ on spine and ‘7-9 Pratt Street on lower rear jacket flap. Jacket illustration by David Scutt. Author photograph by Robin Matthews.
A former schoolteacher and an accomplished playwright, Philip Pullman followed several historical and realistic novels with this literate, sophisticated series, "perhaps the most highly acclaimed work of fantasy for young adults published in the 1990s—in part, certainly, because it can easily be enjoyed by older readers as well. The alternative 20th-century world Pullman creates is extremely imaginative, including creatures as diverse as water gypsies, witches and armored bears… The Dark Materials series is filled with moral ambiguity rather than clear-cut didacticism, and readers as well as [protagonist] Lyra must grapple with the difficult questions raised by the story" (Fantasy and Horror 7-311). "Initially… [Pullman] simply planned to infuse his story with Miltonian atmosphere—'the grandeur, the nobility, the overwhelming magnitude of ambition and imaginative power.' Soon, however, Milton's theme, the Fall of Man, crept into the novel… [Pullman explains,] 'My story resolved itself into an account of the necessity of growing up, and a refusal to lament the loss of innocence" (The New Yorker). Northern Lights earned a 1996 Carnegie Award, "the most prestigious United Kingdom award for children's literature" (Clute & Grant, 791).