"How much does one imagine, how much observe? One can no more separate those functions than divide light from air, or wetness from water": First Edition of The Flame Trees of Thika; Warmly Inscribed by Elspeth Huxley In the Year of Publication

  • The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood.

The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood.

Item Number: 33076

London: Chatto & Windus, 1959.

First edition of Huxley’s autobiographical work based on her early life among white settlers on her father’s coffee plantation in Kenya. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper in the year of publication, “To Dr. Phil Glover- with best wishes and in memory of a wonderful safari. Elspeth Huxley March 1959.” The recipient and Huxley were close friends, as Huxley writes about Glover in her work Forks and Hope An African Notebook. Dr. Phil Glover spent over fifty years in East Africa in an assortment of senior roles including the Chief Zoologist of the Kenya Department of Veterinary Services. He wrote numerous highly regarded papers in his field as well as edited the East African Wildlife Journal. A very nice association. Very good in a very good dust jacket. Jacket design by Rosemary Seligman.

Elspeth Huxley prolifically wrote thirty books, but she is best known for her lyrical books The Flame Trees of Thika and The Mottled Lizard. Both are based on her experiences growing up in a coffee farm in Colonial Kenya. Her husband, Gervas Huxley was related to both Thomas and Aldous Huxley (Lownie, 2006). A year after the publication of The Flame Trees of Thika, Huxley was appointed an independent member of the Advisory Commission for the Review of the Constitution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. She was an advocate of colonialism early in life and later called for independence for African countries (Ibid.). In the 1960s, she served as a correspondent for the National Review magazine. It was later made into the well received television series originally airing in 1981.