Literature

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

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Showing 1–20 of 2815 results

  • "Who is the most important person I've ever met in a signing queue & the first person ever to see merit in Harry Potter. With huge [underlined 4 times] thanks. J.K. Rowling": First Edition, First Printing of J.K. Rowling's Rare First Book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone; Signed by Her

    ROWLING, J.K.

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

    London: Bloomsbury, 1997.

    First edition, first printing with all the prerequisite first issue points called for (including “wand” listed twice on page 53). Octavo, original illustrated boards, without a dust jacket as issued. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the dedication page,  “to Bryony – who is the most important person I’ve ever met in a signing queue & the first person ever to see merit in Harry Potter. With huge [underlined 4 times] thanks. J.K. Rowling.” The recipient, Bryony Evens worked as an office manager in a small publishing company in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1995 J.K. Rowling sent the first three chapters of Harry Potter to that publishing company and it would have gone unseen if it wasn’t for Bryony. Bryony read them and fell in love with the story, and encouraged her boss Christopher Little to ask Rowling for the full book. Rowling then sent a full copy to Bryony when it was published by Bloomsbury in 1997. A year later Bryony went to visit Rowling at a book signing event, and when Rowling recognized her she gave her a big hug and wrote a special inscription, or message, in the book she’d brought. In near fine condition with a touch of rubbing to the extremities. Only 500 copies of the first printing were published, with over half making their way to libraries. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional association and effusive inscription to the person who first recognized the value of Harry Potter.

    Price: $300,000.00     Item Number: 115640

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  • "LIGHT OF MY LIFE, FIRE OF MY LOINS": FIRST American EDITION OF Nabokov's TOUR DE FORCE LOLITA; Inscribed by Him to his Editor Jason Epstein with a drawing of a butterfly

    NABOKOV, Vladimir.

    Lolita.

    New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1955.

    First American edition and first trade edition of Nabokov’s masterpiece. Octavo, original cloth. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the half-title page on the day of publication, “For Jason and Barbara from Vladimir August 18, 1958” and with a drawing by Nabokov of a butterfly. The recipient Jason Epstein was Nabokov’s Doubleday editor and an early supporter of the novel. Having published Nabokov’s Pnin at Doubleday in 1957, Epstein encouraged the house to publish Lolita to no avail (four American publishers refused to publish the work) but was successful in printing the first appearance of the novel in America, a long excerpt in the June 1957 issue of Doubleday’s Anchor Review. G.P. Putnam’s published the sensational book in America the following summer and it became the first novel since Gone with the Wind to sell 100,000 copies in its first three weeks. Inscribed copies of both the 1955 Paris first edition and this 1958 first American edition are equally scarce due to Nabokov’s refusal to sign copies. Vera Nabokov noted this in a letter accompanying a signed copy of the 1958 edition to Anita Loos, that her husband “has been autographing Lolita only for personal friends and the very few writers whose work he admires. He has refused his autograph to so many of his own students and to so many of his acquaintances that it would be impossible for him to make an exception… ” (Nabokov, Selected Letters, 1940-77, ed. D. Nabokov and M. J. Bruccoli, p. 265. Also: Tock, Emily. Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov and Jason Epstein: A Study in Authorial Extravagance and Editorial Restraint in The Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Volume 48, Issue 4, July 2017, pp. 268-281). Photograph of Nabokov by Maclean Dameron. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional association.

    Price: $125,000.00     Item Number: 121875

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  • “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, facsimile frontispiece. 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     Item Number: 5605

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  • "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: $78,000.00     Item Number: 73100

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  • Rare Uncorrected Proof of the First edition of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

    LEE, Harper.

    To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Barnstable, MA: Crane’s Duplicating Service, for J.B. Lippincott Company,, 1960.

    Rare uncorrected proof of the first edition of Lee’s classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Octavo, original spiral-bound printed wrappers marked in type “uncorrected proof,” printed and typed label pasted on upper cover. In the over sixty years since publication only one other proof has surfaced and it was badly stained and read, much inferior to this example. In near fine condition. Originally published on July 11th, 1960, it has since been translated into 40 languages, and has sold more than 30 million copies. An exceptional example of this rarity, produced prior to it status as one of the greatest American novels of the twentieth century.

    Price: $75,000.00     Item Number: 123892

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  • "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     Item Number: 3053

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  • "ALL 'CLASSES' FOR EXPERIENCE AND LEARNING – BUT I DO PREFER 'NON-LITERARY' PEOPLE LIKE WAITERS, TRUCKDRIVERS, GIRLS, CARPENTERS, CLAM DIGGERS, RAILROAD MEN, SEA MEN, OLD MILLIONAIRES, ALL THE 'CHARACTERS'”; SCARCE JACK KEROUAC AUTOGRAPHED SIGNED LETTER

    KEROUAC, Jack.

    Jack Kerouac Autographed Manuscript.

    1964.

    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 given an assignment 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 with Dodd’s questions type-written and Kerouac’s responses handwritten in full. The letter reads in full, “To Robert Dodd from Jack Kerouac Feb. 28th 1964.” 1. In Town and the Country (Kerouac crosses out Country for City) your style of writing is much different from The Lonesome Traveler. Do you change your style with the type of story? Kerouac responds: “‘The Town and the City’ was my first, youngman novel when I was just starting out, trying to write like Thomas Wolfe – ‘Lonesome Traveler’ is a product of my own style which I developed in later years, ‘spontaneous writing’ with no looking back, in my own laws of story telling – OUTERSPACE PROSE! My own original invention.” 2.  Many people have referred to you as a “beatnik” or a “way out” writer. Do you feel this way about yourself? “‘Way-out’ yes, but I never was a beatnik – it was the newspapers and critics who tagged that label on me – I never had a beard, never wore sandals, avoided the company of Bohemians and their politics and always had a job on the road like in ‘Lonesome T.’ on railroad, ships etc.” 3. Some people refer to your thinking as existentialism where man makes his own destiny. Just what is your philosophy of life? “My philosophy now is “no-philosophy,” just “Things – As – They – Are”. 4. What goal are you trying to reach in your career? “Be a great writer making everybody believe in Heaven.” 5. What do you think is the ideal way of life? “Hermit in the woods, one-room cabin, wood stove, oil lamp, books, food, outhouse, no electricity, just creek or brook water, sleep, hiking, nothing-to-do-(Chinese Wu Wei).” 6. Do you like fame or would you rather write and have only your works become famous? “My name is like Crackerjacks, famous, but very few people buy my books because they’ve been told by newspapers and critics that I’m crazy, so I’m almost broke now 1964 – I hate fame without fortune, which is really INFAMY AND RIDICULE, in my case.” 7. From your many books I see that you must travel a lot. Do you try to mix in with different classes or do you stick to one? “All ‘classes’ for experience and learning – but I do prefer ‘non-literary’ people like waiters, truckdrivers, girls, carpenters, clam diggers, railroad men, sea men, old millionaires, all the ‘characters’.” 8. Does the West coast influence an author’s style differently than the East coast? “No – I and the “Beats” came from the East Coast and just rode out there, no special difference in style except a little on subject matter, i.e. open-spaces country.” 9. What is your favorite subject matter? “That everybody goes to Heaven – read “Visions of Gerard” (about Lowell in 1926).” 10. Here in Boston there is much controversy over segregation of the negroes. What is your stand on the issue? “They need jobs, naturally, and education for better jobs – But the Irish and Italians of Massachusetts never paraded in protest, just worked harder, and made it.” 11. Do you plan to visit the East coast, especially the Boston area soon? “Yeh – “lecture” dinner at Harvard soon – I live in Long Island since 1958 so I can’t exactly “visit” the Ease Coast, hey,” –  12. Have you ever been to Montana and, if you have, what were your views on it? “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, up all night, in a saloon in Butte, to keep out of the 40- below February cold, among sheep ranchers playing poker (with sheep dogs at their feet), red-eyed drunken Indians drinking out of bottles in the john, Chinese gamblers, women, cowboys, miners – And outside of Butte, at Three Forks Montana, I saw the source of the Missouri River in the snowy valley – I also heard wolves howl in the Bitterroot Mountains – But I didn’t like Missoula much (skiers etc.) – I would like to have a summer cabin in Montana some day, the last truly “Western” state. Sincerely, Jack Kerouac.” In near fine condition. Matted and framed. The entire piece measures 31 inches by 18 inches. A rare and intimate glimpse into the thought an literary progression of one of the formative writers of the 20th century.

    Price: $75,000.00     Item Number: 79098

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  • “When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness": Rare first complete English edition of Cervantes' masterpiece Don Quixote

    CERVANTES SAAVEDRA, Miguel de.

    The History of Don-Quixote. The First Parte. The Second Part of the History of the Valorous and Witty Knight-Errant, Don Quixote of the Mancha. Written in Spanish by Michael Cervantes: and now translated into English.

    London: Edward Blount, 1620.

    Exceedingly rare first complete edition in English of Cervantes’ masterpiece comprising the second edition of the first part and the first edition of the second part. Small octavo, 2 volumes bound in full calf with red morocco spine labels lettered in gilt, gilt turn-ins, frontispiece portrait of the author to Vol. I, engraved headpieces, tailpieces and initials. Translated from the original Spanish by Thomas Shelton, his first English translation published in 1612 was the first translation in any language, and took him only forty days to complete. The true first edition of Don Quixote was published in Madrid by Francisco de Robles in two parts in 1605 and 1614. The first part of Shelton’s first English version was published in 1612 with the second part added in 1620, both published in quarto. The present edition is the first complete edition published in the English language with both the first and second parts published and sold simultaneously. Volume one is a second edition with the text block trimmed as usual, in very good condition. Volume two is a first edition, lacking the engraved title as with many copies, and believed to be indicative of an earlier state. “Duff suggested that the reason this plate is lacking in so many copies of the second part is because it was not prepared until after a good many copies had been sold without it” (Pforzheimer 140; Grolier Langland to Wither 213) Early ownership signature, most likely Herbert Lunsford located at the head of the errata sheet. Sir Herbert Lunsford (c. 1610-1664) was a military figure and brother to Thomas Lunsford, who is reputed to have been a ruthless pirate and fearless adventurer. There are some who believe that these brothers, along with their brother Henry, served as the models for the Three Musketeers. Catalog entry, handwritten note, and newspaper clipping containing bibliographical information affixed to verso of front board. An exceptional example of this rarity, very rare to find complete.

    Price: $75,000.00     Item Number: 117895

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  • “Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea": First Edition of the Ayn Rand's Magnum Opus The Fountainhead; Inscribed by Her

    RAND, Ayn.

    The Fountainhead.

    Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1943.

    First edition, first issue with first edition stated on the copyright page of the author’s first major novel, as well as her first best-seller. Octavo, original red cloth. Association copy, inscribed by the author in the year of publication on the front free endpaper, “To Gertrude Lynneberg- – with my best wishes for long years of happiness- Ayn Rand November 16, 1943.” The recipient, Gertrude Lynneberg was the sister-in- law to Linda Lynneberg, also known as Aslaug Lynneberg, a lifelong friend of Rand. Near fine in a very good first issue dust jacket with some chips and wear. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. First editions in the original dust jacket are uncommon, association copies rare.

    Price: $65,000.00     Item Number: 121447

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  • "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     Item Number: 7340

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  • "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. In 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     Item Number: 99735

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  • “The truth may be stretched thin, but it never breaks, and it always surfaces above lies, as oil floats on water": Rare first part of the first complete edition of Cervantes' masterpiece Don Quixote; the earliest extant edition printed in Barcelona

    CERVANTES SAAVEDRA, Miguel De.

    First Part of El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha. Barcelona, 1617.

    Barcelona: Bautista Sorita, for Miguel Gracián, 1617.

    The earliest extant Barcelona edition of Cervantes’ masterpiece, and the first part of the first complete edition of Don Quixote. Small octavo, bound in full contemporary calf with gilt titles and elaborate gilt tooling to the spine, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges red, illustrated title page. The second part of the first complete edition was printed simultaneously by Sebastián Matevad and sold as a complete set with the present volume by Miguel Gracián, Juan Simón and Rafael Vives. Small stamp and inscription to the title page. Bookplate to the pastedown. Scarce and desirable.

    Price: $60,000.00     Item Number: 117012

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  • First Edition of George Orwell's Burmese Days; Inscribed by Him

    ORWELL, George.

    Burmese Days.

    New York: Harper & Brothers, 1934.

    First American edition and true first preceding the British edition by one year of Orwell’s first novel. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the verso of the front free endpaper to Mabel Fierz, “With very best wishes from Eric Blair.” It was Mabel Fierz who introduced Orwell to Leonard Moore (who would later become his literary agent) after salvaging the manuscript for Down and Out from the writer’s discarded papers. After first meeting Orwell in Southwold, Suffolk, Mabel and her husband Francis became close friends with the writer and often invited him to stay at their house in Golders Green. On one such occasion, Orwell gave Mabel the manuscript, which had just been rejected by Faber, and telling her to save only the paperclips, said she should throw it away. Instead she took it in person to Moore who in turn took it to Gollancz. In gratitude, thereafter Orwell presented Mabel with signed copies of all his published works. Mabel Fierz, authorial inscription, typed letter signed by Mabel’s son Adrian Fierz loosely inserted. Near fine in a very good dust jacket. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.

    Price: $55,000.00     Item Number: 67096

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  • “AMERICA’S SECOND DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE”: RARE FIRST EDITION OF WALT WHITMAN’S LEAVES OF GRASS, THE MOST IMPORTANT AND INFLUENTIAL VOLUME OF AMERICAN POETRY

    WHITMAN, Walt.

    Leaves of Grass.

    Brooklyn, New York: For the author by Andrew & James Rome, 1855.

    First edition of the most important volume in American poetry, which Whitman personally financed, supervised and even in some sections hand-set the type for the small printing of 795 copies. Small folio, frontispiece engraved portrait of the author by Hollyer after the daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison, mounted opposite the title, bound in three quarters morocco over marbled boards by MacDonald, New York, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, marbled endpapers. In near fine condition. Housed in a custom full morocco clamshell chemise.

    Price: $50,000.00     Item Number: 108540

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  • "Portrait of a Woman Eyes Closed": Original Artwork by Kahlil Gibran; Signed and dated by him

    GIBRAN, Kahlil.

    Portrait of a Woman Eyes Closed.

    1926.

    Rare original artwork from Kahlil Gibran. Graphite on paper, signed and dated by Gibran. “K.G. 1926.” The piece measures 10.5 inches by 8 inches. Double matted and framed. The entire piece measures 17 inches by 15 inches. Provenance: Waverly, December 11, 1986, lot. 378; purchased by the present owner; Private Collection, Washington D.C.

    Price: $50,000.00     Item Number: 119272

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  • “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for": First edition of To Kill A Mockingbird; Inscribed by Harper Lee

    LEE, Harper.

    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. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper in a contemporary hand, “To Jennie with my best wishes Nelle Lee.” The recipient must have been a person close to the author, as Lee reserved inscriptions using the name Nelle family members and close friends. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket with light rubbing and wear to the extremities. Jacket design by Shirley Smith. Photograph of Lee on the back panel by Truman Capote. Housed in a custom full morocco clamshell box.

    Price: $50,000.00     Item Number: 99740

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  • "I am enormously pressed for time this vacation, and I am ever afraid no such thing will have been done by me in time to be of use to you": Rare autograph letter signed by J.R.R. Tolkien with his list of Old English Literature Questions with annotations and corrections in his hand

    TOLKIEN, J.R.R.

    J.R.R. Tolkien Autograph Letter Signed and Annotated Old English Literature Questionnaire.

    1920.

    Rare autograph letter signed by the author of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien regarding a list of 50 questions he has composed examining Old English Literature. One page, entirely in Tolkien’s hand, the letter reads in full, “1 Alfred Street St. Giles Oxford Mar: 17th 1920. Dear Miss Duncan, I enclose a ‘mixed bag’ of 50 questions on the OE period – some of them on ‘Beowulf’ (exclusive of special points of commentary), some more general. A few may be of use to you (many are culled from past papers etc.: those of last year are marked). They are not intended to by models of clear questioning , but to suggest enquiries. The easily available critical writings that might help are all 150 few. I hoped some time to make out something like a select bibliography but I am enormously pressed for time this vacation, and I am ever afraid no such thing will have been done by me in time to be of use to you. I am yours sincerely JRR Tolkien.” Three pages, typewritten and composed of 50 questions, the questionnaire is titled “Old English Literature Questions” with several annotations and corrections in Tolkien’s hand, including to question 1. “A gluttonous race of Jutes and Angles, capable of no grand combinations: [Tolkien has added “lumbering about in potbellied equanimity] not dreaming of heroic toll, and silence, and endurance, such as lead to the high places of this universe, and the golden mountain tone where dwell the spirits of the dawn’ (Carlyle). How far would your reading of Old English poetry land you to modify this estimate?” to question 10. “What may we imagine the effect of the introduction of Christianity (and the [Tolkien has added “subseq.”] attitude of the Church) to have been upon the preservation of the legends (and ideals) of Germanic past?” and to question 28. “Do you agree that compared with ‘The Battle of Maldon’ (which celebrated complete defeat) ‘Brunanburh’ [Tolkien has added “which celebrated a great victory”] is merely competent laureate work that any well educated gentleman of the time could have turned out on conventional models? Can you account for it?” Tolkien has also added a 51st question in his hand at the conclusion of the questionnaire, “Give an account of one important ins. of English poetry. Indicate its value for our knowledge of the subject as a whole.” In fine condition. An extraordinary pairing, offering a unique glimpse into Tolkien’s broad literary knowledge and influences.

    Price: $50,000.00     Item Number: 121974

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  • "The truth is rarely pure and never simple": Signed limited large-paper edition of The Importance of Being Earnest

    WILDE, Oscar.

    The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.

    London: Leonard Smithers and Co, 1899.

    Signed limited large-paper edition of the author’s masterpiece, number 68 of 100 copies signed by Oscar Wilde on the limitation page. Octavo, original pale purple cloth, gilt titles to the spine, gilt floral motifs from designs by Charles Shannon on spine and covers, edges untrimmed.  Presentation copy, with an autograph letter signed by the third and final wife of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Eugene O’Neill, actress Carlotta Monterey O’Neill, to stage actor Harrison K. Ford laid in which reads, “To Harrison Ford Do hope you will enjoy this!- All good wishes Carlotta Monterey O’Neill Dec 6th 31 1095 Park Ave.-” From the library of Harrison K. Ford with his bookplate to the front pastedown. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. In near fine condition. An exceptional example with noted provenance.

    Price: $50,000.00     Item Number: 110755

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  • “The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind”: First Edition of one of the earliest and most influential detective novels ever written; Dashiell hammett's the maltese falcon in the rare original dust jacket

    HAMMETT, Dashiell.

    The Maltese Falcon.

    New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1930.

    First edition of one of the earliest and most influential detective novels ever written. Octavo, original cloth. Fine in a near fine first-issue dust jacket priced at 2.00 with the dust-jacket blurb quotes Joseph Shaw, editor of Black Mask, “We want to go on record as saying that this story is a marvelous piece of writing – the finest detective story it has ever been our privilege to read in book form, in any magazine of any kind, or in manuscript…” with some expert restoration. Rare and desirable, as most examples have been price-clipped.

     

    Price: $50,000.00     Item Number: 122876

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  • “Don't you know that everybody's got a Fairyland of their own?”: Rare First Edition of Mary Poppins; Signed by P.L. Travers

    TRAVERS, P.L.

    Mary Poppins.

    London: Gerald Howe, 1934.

    First edition of this children’s classic. Octavo, original cloth, illustrated with 27 line cuts (13 full-page) and chapter tailpieces by Mary Shepard. Signed by P.L. Travers on the front free endpaper. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with light rubbing and wear to the crown of the spine. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Signed first editions are of exceptional rarity, with none having appeared at auction since the time of publication.

    Price: $48,000.00     Item Number: 54060

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