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Rare books from Captain Ahab's Rare Books

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ORIGINAL BLOTTED LINE CHERUB DRAWING - BE MY VALENTIME
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ORIGINAL BLOTTED LINE CHERUB DRAWING - "BE MY VALENTIME"

by Warhol, Andy

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Stephenson, Virginia
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N.p.: S.i., 1956. Large, charming drawing by Warhol (1928-1987) depicting a pair of cherubs at play, similar to those found in his mid-1950's series In the Bottom of My Garden. "To make a blotted line drawing, Warhol would draw an image (or, often, trace from a photograph) onto a sheet of blank paper. This sheet of paper would either be folded in half or have another sheet of paper attached to it by a piece of tape that functioned as a hinge. Working slowly, Warhol would ink his drawing in small sections on the first sheet of paper and, while the ink was still wet, fold over the second sheet and blot the drawing. Line by line, Warhol would ink and blot the drawing until the entire image was transferred to the second sheet. The smudges and specs of ink produced by this rudimentary printing process gave the resulting image a spontaneous feel. Warhol would then discard the working ink drawing, and the print would serve as his final "drawing"...The blotted line became famous as Warhol's line, and,… Read More
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THE THIN MAN
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THE THIN MAN

by Hammett, Dashiell

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Used
Edition
First U.K. Edition
Binding
Hardcover
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London: Arthur Barker Ltd, 1934. First U.K. Edition. Hammett's fifth and final novel, a commercial success upon publication, selling more than 30,000 copies within a few months of its release on 8 January, 1934. The UK edition followed Knopf's four months later, with portions of the text revised by Hammett, and like all UK editions of Hammett books, it is considerably scarcer than its American counterpart. Basis for W.S. Van Dyke's film of the same name released later the same year, and spawning a successful series of subsequent films through 1947. Uncommon in dustjacket, with the last collectible example offered at the Rechler sale (Christies, 2002). Layman A6.3; Hubin, p.185. First Impression. Octavo (19.5cm); orange cloth, with titling and pictorial elements stamped in black on spine and front cover; dustjacket; [6],7-284,[4]pp. Pictorial bookplate and private library stamp of Italian bibliophile Giuseppe Orlando, with his holograph signature and date of acquisition (Feb.1935) at upper margin of… Read More
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THE HIGH WINDOW

THE HIGH WINDOW

by Chandler, Raymond

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  • Hardcover
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Condition
Used
Edition
First Edition
Binding
Hardcover
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Stephenson, Virginia
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£22,170.40
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New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1942. First Edition. Chandler's third novel, set largely in Pasadena, with a complex plot involving counterfeiting, blackmail, and the theft of a rare and valuable American coin. Basis for John Brahm's 1947 film noir The Brasher Doubloon, starring Nancy Guild, Conrad Janis, Roy Roberts, Fritz Kortner, and George Montgomery as Philip Marlowe. A superior copy. Bruccoli A3.1.a; Barzun & Taylor 733; The Dark Page, Vol.1, pp.66-67. First Printing, one of 6,500 copies. Octavo (19.75cm); light brown cloth, with titles stamped in maroon on spine and front cover; dustjacket; [x],240,[6]pp. The Florence & Edward Kaye copy, with their gilt-stamped morocco bookplate mounted to front pastedown. Housed in a custom clamshell case. Some offsetting to pastedowns and endpapers from binders glue, else Fine. Dustjacket is unclipped (priced $2.00), with some pinpoint wear to extremities, else Fine and unrestored, without the usual sunning to the spine panel. Housed in a custom half-morocco… Read More
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THE GREAT GATSBY
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THE GREAT GATSBY

by Fitzgerald, F. Scott

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  • Hardcover
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Condition
Used
Edition
First U.K. Edition
Binding
Hardcover
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Stephenson, Virginia
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£98,975.00
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London: Chatto & Windus, 1926. First U.K. Edition. The first English edition of Fitzgerald's third novel and most enduring work, the story of a flamboyant racketeer's attempt to recapture the upper-class girl he fell in love with during the waning years of World War I. While hailed for many decades as an American classic, Gatsby was a commercial disappointment during its time; its two printings totaled 23,870 copies, and at the time of Fitzgerald's death in 1940, stacks of them still remained unsold in the Scribner's warehouse. The UK edition of Gatsby was published from the American plates of the second Scribner's edition, which incorporated corrections to the six textual errors in the first state of the text. Fitzgerald, eager for a better literary reputation in England than he ever enjoyed, was disappointed when his primary publisher, William Collins, turned down the opportunity to publish Gatsby, stating that to published the novel "would be to reduce the number of his readers rather than to… Read More
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£98,975.00
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A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN - THE B.W. HUEBSCH FAMILY COPY
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A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN - THE B.W. HUEBSCH FAMILY COPY

by Joyce, James

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  • Hardcover
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Condition
Used
Edition
First Edition
Binding
Hardcover
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Stephenson, Virginia
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£25,733.50
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New York: B.W. Huebsch, 1916. First Edition. Joyce's autobiographical first novel, first serialized in 25 installments in The Egoist between February 2, 1914 and September 1, 1915 by his great patron, Harriet Shaw Weaver. As for the book publication, she was unsuccessful at finding an English printer willing to assume the responsibility of setting the text - seven of them refused to do it, all on moral grounds. "Under English law, unlike American, the printing of immoral writings is as actionable as their publication" (Slocum & Cahoon, p.20). Weaver sent a copy of her Egoist serialization to New York bookseller Edmond Byrne Hackett, who in turn contacted B.W. Huebsch, who undertook the publication of Portrait, just as he had for Dubliners several weeks earlier. "...on 16 June (an emblematic date for Joyce) Benjamin Huebsch wrote to Miss Weaver with his proposal: publication of the complete novel, with sheets printed in the US going to the English publisher under joint imprints, the costs being… Read More
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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

by Lee, Harper

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  • Hardcover
  • first
Condition
Used
Edition
First Edition
Binding
Hardcover
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Stephenson, Virginia
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£27,713.00
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Philadelphia & New York: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1960. First Edition. The author's first published book, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961 and basis for Robert Mulligan's Oscar-winning 1962 film starring Gregory Peck. First Printing, one of ca.5,000 copies. Octavo (20.75cm); brown paper over light green cloth, with titling and decorations stamped in brown on spine; dustjacket; [8],9-296pp. Pictorial bookplate of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. (1909-1988) mounted to front pastedown. Two tiny foxed spots to upper front board edge along the backstrip, else a fresh, Fine copy. In the correct first printing dustjacket, priced $3.95, with 4-line Truman Capote quote on the front flap and Jonathan Daniels quote on the rear flap; mild wear to spine ends, and to a lesser degree, along the joints and front flap fold, with a few pinpoint rubbed spots to front panel; a bright, Near Fine example, rich in color, and entirely unrestored. Housed in a custom half-morocco clamshell case.
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£27,713.00
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LOLITA: A SCREENPLAY - INSCRIBED TO IRVING LAZAR
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LOLITA: A SCREENPLAY - INSCRIBED TO IRVING LAZAR

by Nabokov, Vladimir

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  • Hardcover
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Condition
Used
Edition
First Edition
Binding
Hardcover
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Stephenson, Virginia
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£29,692.50
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New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1974. First Edition. A monumental association copy of Nabokov's own adaptation for the film version of his 1955 novel. The recipient, Irving Paul Lazar (1907-1933), was a legendary talent agent and dealmaker who represented both the Hollywood elite, and a stable of authors that included Nabokov, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Larry McMurtry, William Saroyan, and others. In July of 1959, Nabokov was approached by Stanley Kubrick and James Harris, who had acquired the film rights to Lolita, to write the screenplay. Over the next year, he painstakingly wrote and re-wrote the screenplay until delivering his 400pp draft to Kubrick and Harris in the summer of 1960. "At one point, Kubrick told Nabokov that the screenplay was "much too unwieldy, contained too many unnecessary episodes, and would take about seven hours to run." Nabokov put the screenplay on a crash diet and submitted his final version on 8-Sep-1960. Harris and Kubrick called it the… Read More
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WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE - INSCRIBED WITH A DRAWING TO RICHARD HOWARD & SANFORD FRIEDMAN
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WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE - INSCRIBED WITH A DRAWING TO RICHARD HOWARD & SANFORD FRIEDMAN

by Sendak, Maurice

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  • Hardcover
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Condition
Used
Edition
First Edition
Binding
Hardcover
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Stephenson, Virginia
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£17,815.50
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New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1963. First Edition. An excellent copy of what is perhaps the best-loved and most distinguished illustrated children's book of the 20th century, one that the American Institute of Graphic Arts called "the perfect book." Inscribed by Sendak to Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and translator Richard Howard (1929-2022) and his then partner, author and playwright Sanford Friedman (1928-2010). Howard and Sendak both spent time on Fire Island during the 1960s, where Sendak wrote Where the Wild Things Are, and the men were part of a tightly-knit circle of queer authors and artists in New York during that period. By the mid-1970s, Howard and Sendak had drifted apart, though this copy is evidence of a once closer friendship. While erroneously dated (the book was published in November, 1963 - this copy was actually inscribed on January 9, 1964, not 1963), it still remains among the earliest recorded inscriptions in copies of Where the Wild Things Are. The earliest we have traced… Read More
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WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR: THE LIFE STORY OF JACKIE ROBINSON - INSCRIBED TO CARL T. ROWAN
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WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR: THE LIFE STORY OF JACKIE ROBINSON - INSCRIBED TO CARL T. ROWAN

by Rowan, Carl T. and Jackie Robinson

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  • Hardcover
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Condition
Used
Edition
First Edition
Binding
Hardcover
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Stephenson, Virginia
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£19,795.00
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New York: Random House, 1960. First Edition. A distinguished copy of this well-received narrative of Robinson's life, chronicling his early upbringing, career in sports, and his breaking of the color line to become the first African American to play Major League Baseball. Carl Thomas Rowan (1925-2000) was a noted African American journalist and diplomat, whose career in journalism began in 1948 at the Minneapolis Tribune, who hired him as one of only a handful of Black general assignment reporters in the country. "His first major assignment was a series of articles on African American life in the Deep South, for which he traveled six thousand miles in six weeks" (AANB Vol.7, p.20). Throughout the 1950s, he covered the historic Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, and provided extensive coverage of the burgeoning Civil Rights struggle. His reporting of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and his work with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the other boycott leaders would form the basis for his third book, Go South to… Read More
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£19,795.00
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COMPLETE COLLECTION OF STORIES FOR BLACK MASK - 11 ISSUES (1933-1937)
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COMPLETE COLLECTION OF STORIES FOR BLACK MASK - 11 ISSUES (1933-1937)

by Chandler, Raymond

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  • first
Condition
Used
Edition
First Editions
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Stephenson, Virginia
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New York: Pro-Distributors Publishing Company, Inc, 1937. First Editions. Raymond Chandler's stories for the pulp magazine Black Mask mark a cornerstone in American crime fiction. Among the hundreds of pulp magazines churning out cheap fiction in New York, Black Mask stood out from the pack; under the watchful eye of editor Joseph T. Shaw, the magazine became fertile ground for top-notch crime fiction written by Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner, Carroll John Daly, Paul Cain, Frederick Nebel, and Cornell Woolrich, to name a few. By Chandler's own admission, he read and studied the stories submitted by Hammett, a man he admired greatly, who "took murder out of the Venetian vase and dropped it in the alley." What Chandler did was take the very best parts of Hammett's writing, and added poetry and style. Perhaps the greatest compliment of his work came from Shaw himself, who declared: "...there was no wordage fat. You could not cut. Every word had to be there." As a testament to their staying… Read More
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£19,795.00
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TWO-PAGE ALS TO HARFORD POWELL ON THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON - TOGETHER WITH THE...
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TWO-PAGE ALS TO HARFORD POWELL ON "THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON" - TOGETHER WITH THE ORIGINAL COLLIER'S MAGAZINE APPEARANCE

by Fitzgerald, F. Scott

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Condition
Used
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Stephenson, Virginia
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£25,733.50
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St. Paul, MN: S.i., 1922. A significant unpublished letter from Fitzgerald to Harford Powell, his editor at Collier's, concerning what is arguably his most famous short story, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." The letter, dated over a month prior to its publication in the May 27, 1922 issue of Collier's, was written shortly after Powell bought the story. Fitzgerald deftly makes a pitch to his editor concerning how the story could potentially be introduced to readers: "Reynolds writes me that you have bought Benjamin Button. I would like to make a suggestion. Couldn't you run a short blurb between the title and the story something on this manner: "Mark Twain once remarked that it was a pity that the best part of life came first and the saddest part afterward. He thought that old age should be run through with first and childhood saved as a reward. What do you think? Perhaps when you've finished this extraordinary story you'll agree with him - and perhaps not." This is only a suggestion but… Read More
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THE OUTSIDER AND OTHERS - TWO INSCRIBED COPIES, WITH RELATED CORRESPONDENCE
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THE OUTSIDER AND OTHERS - TWO INSCRIBED COPIES, WITH RELATED CORRESPONDENCE

by Lovecraft, H.P. (stories); Finlay, Virgil (design)

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Condition
Used
Edition
First Editions
Binding
Hardcover
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Stephenson, Virginia
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£51,467.00
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Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1939. First Editions. The first major collection of Lovecraft's weird fiction and the first production by the legendary Arkham House - a landmark in 20th century genre publishing. The 32 stories written for various pulp magazines were gathered and preserved by Lovecraft's friends, August Derleth and Donald Wandrei, who founded Arkham House in 1939 to preserve and publish the best of Lovecraft's fiction. The stories "range from early exercises in Dunsanian pastiche to the mature and highly distinctive tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, which construct a horrific cosmological and historical context for human history. Luckless protagonists who stumble upon various dire intrusions of Cthulhu and his kin, or who unwisely pursue dangerous inquiries in the appropriate revelatory tomes, are inevitably brought to repulsively stick ends. Lovecraft became the consummate master of the confirmatory ending, in which what has been suspected all along finally becomes manifest" (Barron, Horror… Read More
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£51,467.00
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THE ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST - INSCRIBED TO LARRY MCMURTRY
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THE ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST - INSCRIBED TO LARRY MCMURTRY

by Wolfe, Tom

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  • Hardcover
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Condition
Used
Edition
First Edition
Binding
Hardcover
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Stephenson, Virginia
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New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1968. First Edition. Wolfe's third and most enduring book, a major work of the New Journalism and one of the defining books of the 1960s, in which he recounts his experiences traveling with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, whom he would not have met if not for Larry McMurtry. In 1960, McMurtry was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University's Creative Writing Center, along with Kesey, Wendell Berry, Robert Stone, and others. He and Kesey lived near each other and became close friends and correspondents over the coming years. On p.6 of the book, Wolfe mentions how those letters between McMurtry and Kesey became the genesis of his idea for this book: "One day I happened to get hold of some letters Kesey wrote from Mexico to his friend Larry McMurtry, who wrote Horseman, Pass By, from which the movie Hud was made. They were wild and ironic, written like a cross between William Burroughs and George Ade, telling of hideouts, disguises, paranoia, fleeing from… Read More
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ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST: A NOVEL - REVIEW COPY
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ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST: A NOVEL - REVIEW COPY

by Kesey, Ken

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  • Hardcover
  • first
Condition
Used
Edition
First Edition
Binding
Hardcover
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Stephenson, Virginia
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£19,795.00
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New York: The Viking Press, 1962. First Edition. Kesey's first published novel, one of the defining works of the 1960s, which helped shape an entire generation's views on authority, individuality, and mental health. Basis for Miloš Forman's Oscar-winning 1975 film, starring Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher. First Printing, with the textual errors on pages 9 and 85-86 - a review copy, with the publisher's typed slip laid in, bearing an earlier holograph release date in pencil along the upper edge. Octavo (20.75cm); emerald green cloth, with titles stamped in yellow on spine; orange topstain; dustjacket; [viii],[2],3-311,[1]pp. But for a few pinpoint rubbed spots to the spine ends, Fine in a Fine, unclipped dustjacket (priced $4.95), the book pristine with a bold, unfaded topstain, and the jacket colors bright and unfaded - a truly anomalous copy, and if you've seen the jacket colors this vibrant once, they're hard to unsee.
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£19,795.00
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SUTTREE - INSCRIBED TO JOHN & LANELLE HOLLEY
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SUTTREE - INSCRIBED TO JOHN & LANELLE HOLLEY

by McCarthy, Cormac

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  • Hardcover
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  • first
Condition
Used
Edition
First Edition
Binding
Hardcover
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Stephenson, Virginia
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£15,836.00
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New York: Random House, 1979. First Edition. McCarthy's semi-autobiographical fourth novel set in the early 1950's, following Cornelius Suttree, who has repudiated his life of privilege to spend his life as a fisherman on the Tennessee River. Though now widely considered one of McCarthy's most serious and ambitious works, drawing comparisons to Ulysses, Cannery Row, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, fewer than 3,000 copies of the first printing were sold at the time of publication prior to being remaindered. The recipients, John Leon Holley (1933-2015) and Lanelle Whitley Holley, were close friends of McCarthy's from Tennessee since the early 1960s. McCarthy had known John Holley since they were in their 20s, and he was there the night he proposed to Lanelle. During their first Christmas as a married couple in 1963, knowing McCarthy would be alone, they drove from North Carolina to Gatlinburg to pick him up. He lived with the Holley's for a time early on in his career, shared many of the same… Read More
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£15,836.00
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