Antiquarian Book Blogosphere

Gay Sunshine: Items from the private collection of Winston Leyland

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In 1980, Allen Ginsburg wrote a letter to the Gay Sunshine Journal, praising ‘its presentation of literary history hitherto kept in the closet by the academies.’ Established in August 1970 in Berkeley, California, Gay Sunshine began life as a tabloid reporting on the gay liberation movement that gained momentum in America after the Stonewall uprisings of 1969. When the collective which ran the publication disbanded in 1971, it was taken over by Winston Leyland, a writer, editor and former Catholic priest who had joined Gay Sunshine early on in its inception. Under Leyland’s editorship, the publication began to include more gay literary content and, in 1973, moved to San Francisco and rebranded as the Gay Sunshine Journal, providing a platform for the work of gay artists and writers. Figures such as William Burroughs, Jean Genet, Allen Ginsberg, Christopher Isherwood, Gore Vidal and Tennessee Williams were frequently featured, both as contributors and as the subjects of interviews and reviews.

In 1975, Leyland’s operation branched out into book publishing, founding the Gay Sunshine Press as a not-for-profit enterprise, publishing publishing anthologies of homoerotic poetry and translations of gay literature from other cultures. The prolific output of Leyland’s publishing ventures has rendered him one of the most influential and active figures in gay publishing and, in 1980, he won the Stonewall Book Award for his work as editor of Now the Volcano: An Anthology of Latin American Gay Literature. Hitherto unknown writers, both from the contemporary American context of the liberation movement and writers from diverse cultures, languages and historical periods (collected in anthologies edited by Leyland), were given voice through Gay Sunshine, exposing challenging, sensual and deeply beautiful gay writing, often for the first time.

This selection of rarities, the highlights from a collection of 35 items from Leyland’s private library, appears complete with several unpublished letters and Leyland’s own copies of books published by the Gay Sunshine Press, in the hardback and deluxe issues, most of which went to libraries and are consequently very scarce. Additional works by Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams and Allen Ginsberg, signed and in some cases bearing personal inscriptions to Leyland, are represented alongside several anthologies of interviews, poems and letters which demonstrate the pioneering project of the Gay Sunshine Press.

VIDAL, Gore. Myra Breckinridge. 1968. £500

First edition, first printing. Inscribed by the author to gay publisher Winston Leyland on the half-title: “W.L. best wishes Gore Vidal 1 – 11 – 81”, with Leyland’s signature to the first page. Loosely inserted is a letter sent from La Rondinaia by Vidal to Leyland in 1977. The letter begins “Dear Mr. Leyland, There is nothing unpublished worth publishing (this does not work put the other way ’round)” and goes on to discuss Leyland’s interview with Tennesee Williams, and registering his surprise to read Williams’ claim that he didn’t mind the “fag-baiting” that had dogged him in the 40s and 50s, Vidal instead reminding Leyland of Williams’s intense paranoia of being spied upon by “the Luce gang”. This is a great association for Vidal’s satirical classic, which Dennis Altman acknowledged as “part of a major cultural assault on the assumed norms of gender and sexuality which swept the western world in the late 1960s and early 1970s”.

 

 WILLIAMS, Tennessee. Memoirs. 1975. £475.

 

Signed limited edition, number 97 of 400 copies signed by the author. The trade edition was published the same year.

 

NORSE, Harold. The Undersea Mountain. 1953. £500.

 

First edition, first printing, presentation copy inscribed by the poet, “May 1, 1953 For Howard, With love, Harold”. This copy has an appropriate later association for the gay poet’s first collection, with the ownership inscription, “Winston Leyland, His Copy”. In 1977 the press published Norse’s collection Carnivorous Saint: Gay Poems 1941-1976.

 

RODITI, Edouard. Emperor of Midnight. 1974. £475.

 

First edition, first printing, wrappers issue, inscribed by the author to Winston Leyland, “For Winston Leyland, in a good cause as ever, Edouard Roditi”, on the first blank, and with Leyland’s ownership inscription inside front wrapper. This copy also has seven unpublished autograph letters signed from Roditi to Leyland, dated 1976-77, and an unpublished typewritten hand-corrected poem signed, titled “In Praise of Democracy”.

 

GINSBERG, Allen. Howl for Carl Solomon. 1971. £1,350.

 

First deluxe edition, one of 275 copies signed by Ginsberg, printed by Robert & Grabhorn and Andrew Hoyem on handmade paper from Goudy Modern type, with illustrated cloth binding after a drawing by Robert La Vigne. Ginsberg’s maserpiece was first published by City Lights in 1956, in a much-reproduced wrappers format, but this is the first fine press edition. It includes a new note by Ginsberg about the presentation here of Howl for the first time in tandem with the poetic continuation The Names (written 1957, published in the Paris Review 1966), his “autobiographical chronicle of Howl’s same radiant persons living & dead adored to specify Names & deeds in extended eulogy – an embodyment of Howl’s abstractions”. The publisher’s advertisement is laid in. This copy has the ownership inscription of Winston Leyland (b.1940).

 

(GAY SUNSHINE PRESS.) Angels of the Lyre…. A Gay Poetry Anthology. Edited by Winston Leyland.  June 1975. £650.

 

First edition, first printing, very scarce cloth issue, publisher’s own copy, number two of 10 copies signed by Leyland, of the first Gay Sunshine Press publication, and one of the earliest openly gay poetry anthologies. This small signed issue was one of 200 hardcover copies, most of which were sold to libraries. This copy comes from Winston Leyland’s personal collection and is additionally signed by him on the title page. Angels of the Lyre was the first book publication of Gay Sunshine Press, printing poems by gay poets such as Joe Brainard, Charles Henri Ford, Allen Ginsberg, Gerard Malanga, Harold Norse, Frank O’Hara, and many more.

 

(GAY SUNSHINE PRESS.) My Dear Boy….Gay Love Letters through the Centuries.  1998. £450.

 

First edition, first printing, very scarce cloth issue, publisher Winston Leyland’s own copy with his ownership inscription to half-title.

 

 

(GAY POETRY.) The Male Muse. A Gay Anthology…. 1973. £300.

 

First edition, first printing, very scarce cloth issue, of one of the first openly gay poetry anthologies. Laid in is a typed letter signed from Young to Leyland dated 15 May 1974 discussing various gay publishing events and Young’s attendance of the Anarchist ‘Live and Let Live Festival’ at Hunter College, New York, “Lots of gay anarchists there”, and mentioning E. A. Lacey’s The Forms of Loss (1965), “the first openly gay book to be published in Canada”, recommending Leyland review Lacey in his Gay Sunshine Journal. Also laid in are two typed letters, one signed, to Leyland from Oswell Blakeston, pseudonym of Henry J. Hasslacher, a British poet who is included in Young’s anthology.

 

 

(GAY SUNSHINE PRESS.) Gay Sunshine Interviews. Volume I [and] Volume II…. 1978, 1982. £1,500.

 

First edition, first printing, publisher’s own copies of the rare deluxe signed limited issues of the Gay Sunshine Interviews. The first volume is number three of five hors commerce copies signed by Leyland and five of the interviewees, namely Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, John Giorno, Harold Norse, and Lou Harrison (with his entry inscribed “Pleasure, cheers, & love to Winston, from Lou”). This copy is additionally confirmed “Winston Leyland, his copy” on the front endpaper and signed by him on the title page. There were 500 cloth copies of the first volume issued, of which 26 were lettered and signed by Leyland only. The second volume is letter Z of 26 specially bound copies signed by Leyland, and this copy additionally signed by him on the title page. The limitation of the other clothbound copies for the second volume is not stated in the book or the bibliography. The wrappers issue for both volumes is common, but the vast majority of the cloth issues of the Gay Sunshine Press were sold to libraries, and are consequently rare.

 

(GAY SUNSHINE PRESS.) Gay Roots….Twenty Years of Gay Sunshine. An Anthology of Gay History, Sex, Politics, and Culture. 1991-3. £1,000.

 

First edition, first printing, Winston Leyland’s own copy of the deluxe signed limited issue, letters B and Z of 26 specially bound copies signed by Leyland, these volumes additionally signed by Leyland on the title pages and deriving from his personal collection. There were also 300 unsigned cloth copies, the vast majority of which were sold to libraries. Gay Roots was advertised as “an anthology encyclopaedic in scale, Gay Roots collects the best writings from the turbulent early 1970’s, the very beginning of modern gay liberation, right up to the present day. Work from Gay Sunshine Journal the groundbreaking tabloid that served as a forum and catalyst for the revolution underway appears together with some of the most catalytic gay writing published by Gay Sunshine Press, the oldest continuing gay book publisher in the United States. Tennessee Williams wrote in 1977 of Gay Sunshine: ‘The only completely literate and serious Gay Journal with which I’m acquainted.’ Five books in one, with sections on ‘Gay History,’ ‘Gay Sex and Politics,’ ‘Gay Biography and Literary Essays,’ ‘Gay Fiction,’ and ‘Gay Poetry,’ Gay Roots is intended for every gay person desiring to reclaim a rich cultural tradition.” (Gay Sunshine Bibliography).

 

(GAY SUNSHINE PRESS.) WILDE, Oscar, attrib. Teleny….Edited by Winston Leyland. 1984. £950.

 

First unexpurgated edition, first printing, letter A of 26 deluxe copies specially bound and signed by Leyland. This is Leyland’s own copy with his additional ownership inscription, “Winston Leyland, His copy” to the front endpaper. There were also 200 unsigned copies in plainer cloth, the vast majority were sold to libraries. “This brilliant erotic novel, attributed to Oscar Wilde and his circle, was first published in an underground edition of 200 copies in 1893. It deals with the love between two men in Victorian Englandone of them the handsome, 24-year-old pianist Rene Teleny; the other a young man-about-town, Camille Des Grieux. The book was originally published anonymously because no one in England (least of all Oscar Wilde) could afford to acknowledge open authorship of a book in which homosexual acts are described minutely and celebrated with abandon. And Teleny certainly leaves nothing to the imagination. It is a veritable catalogue of gay lovemaking, and may indeed be rightly considered the first gay novel in the English language. This is the first unexpurgated edition of the novel, based on the original manuscript” (Gay Sunshine bibliography).

 

(GAY SUNSHINE PRESS.) GINSBERG, Allen, & Peter Orlovsky. Straight Hearts’ Delight…. Love Poems and Selected Letters 1947-1980. £1,500.

 

First edition, first printing, letter O of 26 specially bound copies signed by Ginsberg and Orlovsky. This is publisher and editor Winston Leyland’s own copy of the deluxe issue, additionally signed by him on the title page, and with two unpublished autograph letters signed from Ginsberg to Leyland laid in. The first letter, dated 26 November 1982, praises the present publication, mentions meeting John Rechy, and discusses other matters of gay publishing. The second, with the signed envelope dated 7 September 1990, sends Leyland a postcard of the famous photograph Ginsberg took of Neal Cassady and Natalie Jackson in 1955.

“I loved thee, Atthis, in the long ago…”: Hand-corrected typescript of Sappho, One Hundred Lyrics by Bliss Carman

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One of the nine canonical lyric poets of Ancient Greece, Sappho remains something of a chimera to poets and classicists. No copies of the nine books of poetry she produced while living on the island of Lesbos around 600BC have survived – variously lost in the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, burned (as some Renaissance scholars believed) in a purge by Pope Gregory VII or otherwise destroyed – leaving only a few complete poems and a handful of tantalising fragments. Until the discovery of a further collection of papyrus fragments in the early 20th century, most of her poetry was known to us only so far as it was quoted in other works. Bliss Carman’s One Hundred Lyrics represents the first attempt to imaginatively expand this fragmentary verse into full poems.

 

Cataloguing by Sammy Jay

Pre-publication hand-corrected typescript of Canada’s unofficial poet laureate Bliss Carman’s magnum opus, the first comprehensive and fully imagined rendering into English of the thithero fragmentary poems of Sappho, the greatest surviving lyric poet of the ancient world.

This is presented together with a very scarce copy of the first edition, printed October 1903 and published 1904 in Boston by L. C. Page in a limited edition of 500 numbered copies (of which this is copy 13), an inscribed copy of the rare privately printed Carman poem A Vision of Sappho, and a rare US issue of the scarce first edition of the book from which Carman worked to create his lyrics, H. T. Wharton’s scholarly compendium of the surviving Greek fragments together with the previous attempts at English translations (London: David Stott, 1875, with here a cancel title page for the US issue by Jansen, McClurg, and Co. of Chicago).

Bliss Carman

In 1902, Carman was residing in New York. His friend Mitchell Kennerley gave him a copy of H. T. Wharton’s Sappho, and suggested that he poeticise Wharton’s more literal translations. This sparked off an inspiration for Carman, who set to work reassembling the disjecta membra of the surviving Sappho fragments that Wharton afforded him, fleshing it out with his own imagination. Fellow Canadian poet Charles G. D. Roberts, in his introduction to the published One Hundred Lyrics, glosses Carman’s method thus: “It is as if a sculptor of to-day were to set himself, with reverence, and trained craftsmanship, and studious familiarity with the spirit, technique, and atmosphere of his subject, to restore some statues of Polyclitus or Praxiteles of which he had but a broken arm, a foot, a knee, a finger upon which to build.”

The first appearance of Carman’s Sappho lyrics was a private printing (60 copies) of only 15 lyrics. The omission of that item here must be excused by its extreme rarity – the last copy recorded at auction was in 1926. Carman continued work on swelling the number of the Sappho lyrics, and also wrote his own long original poem evoking the imaginative excitement of this encounter with Sappho, entitled A Vision of Sappho. This was printed in December 1903 again in a private edition of 60 copies. The copy included here (as rare as the 15 Sappho lyrics of 1902 – the last copy of A Vision of Sappho at auction was in 1938) has been reminiscently inscribed by Carman on the first blank: “Written in the Catskills a long time ago when we seemed to have more leisure for such things. The thrushes still sing there in the serene twilight to the hemlocks and the mountains streams still murmur all night long; the shadows of clouds still traverse the wooded slopes; yet something has departed. It must be we who have changed. Twilight Park, 1920. Bliss Carman”.

Carman’s One Hundred Lyrics of Sappho would come to be his most enduring work – acknowledged by the Dictionary of Canadian Biography to be his “finest volume of poetry”. It is particularly notable for having made Sappho accessible and exciting to a non-academic English-speaking audience, and some lyrics, such as “I loved thee, Atthis, in the long ago” and “Over the roofs the honey-coloured moon”, are still quoted by Carman and Sappho enthusiasts alike. It was read and admired in particular by modernist poets such as Wallace Stephens and Ezra Pound. Indeed, critic D. M. R. Bentley has suggested that “the brief, crisp lyrics of the Sappho volume almost certainly contributed to the aesthetic and practice of Imagism”.

The typescript here is the linchpin of this presentation of the Carman/Sappho story. Textually it stands between the typescript in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library, and the published version. The prior typescript had more lyrics, and was numbered in accordance to Wharton’s numbering of the fragments that inspired them. Several of those Carman cut, and the present typescript has been renumbered and rearranged into its near-published state. A previous owner has enumerated, on a lengthy hand-list, the textual differences between the lyrics in this typescript and those in the Berg. This document also carries the assertion that various letter forms in the manuscript corrections here tally satisfactorily with “Carman’s hand in letters to Miss Hawthorne in the Berg MS”.

Woman with wax tablets and stylus (so-called “Sappho”), artist unknown

There are approximately 100 typed or manuscript corrections to this typescript, the vast majority constitute corrections to errors or omissions in typing up the text from the Berg typescript. Comparing the present typescript with the published version, almost all of these corrections are retained in the published version. There are also some errors and omissions in the typescript which are not corrected here but have been corrected in the published version, but overall the text of the typescript appears in near-finished state. While the manuscript corrections, though in places very like, are not definitively attributable to Carman’s hand (there is after all a chance the typescript could have been secretarial or editorial), there is one manuscript correction that necessitates authorial involvement, the addition of the word “sea” in lyric XXXI, the line “tell while the [sea] stands” – the Berg typescript has “world”, and interestingly in the published version this is changed back to “world”. This typescript also has a working title not retained in the published version, “One hundred lyrics, translated and interpreted by…”, and it does not have the epigraphic poem “Now to please my little friend”, nor of course the lengthy prose introduction by Roberts, both of which were added for the published version. All this firmly asserts the typescript’s pre-publication status.

Laid in at the rear of the typescript is a near-contemporary newspaper clipping of “A Newly Discovered Poem of Sappho” translated by Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) – an appealing continuation of the Sappho story.

 

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Christmas at Peter Harrington

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Christmas is just around the corner and here at Peter Harrington we’ll be helping you get into the festive spirit with our Christmas Saturdays. Join us every Saturday between now and Christmas for mince pies and a glass of fizz while you browse. Chat to our expert booksellers who will help you choose the perfect gifts for friends and family.

 

Christmas Shipping

We are pleased to announce our Christmas free shipping upgrade offer. All orders of £200 and above placed between now and Christmas will be sent by UPS or Fed Ex express services free of charge.

The last recommended shipping dates are as follows:

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“Weather + Hun Permitting!!!” – A Rare Artillery Spotter’s Sketch of the Notorious Passchendaele Ridge

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This November, we’re spotlighting an extraordinary item from our stock which documents firsthand the Passchendaele battlefield from the point of view of a British Observation Officer.

An enthralling and highly unusual survival from the Great War: a fine original artillery spotter’s panoramic sketch of the Passchendaele Ridge, north-east of Ypres – signed and dated “H. P. Manton, March 1918” – as viewed from a position at an Observation Post (“O. Pip”) on its lower slopes by a British Forward Observation Officer. This skillfully sketched view across a section of the Western Front – with its the familiar mournful litany of torn and ragged tree stumps, earth ploughed by shellfire – shows a succession of landmarks: church spires, windmills, towns, and salient features carrying easily identifiable nicknames such as “Assyria” and “Rhine”, and the position of a trench mortar. The major details of the landscape are “Dairy Wood”, “Daisy Wood” and “Table Wood” and the map is headed “View from D234. [D23a. 18. 89]” with the amusing sub-text “Weather + Hun Permitting!!!” The O.P. was just behind the British front line trenches as they stood at the conclusion of the battle of Passchendaele, the village itself having been taken but subsequently lost to German counter-attacks. This was a section of the Front occupied by the Australians during 1917 and the landmarks mentioned here featured in the Battle of Broodseinde (4 October 1917), fought near Ypres, at the east end of the Gheluvelt plateau; “Daisy Wood” in particular was a strongly held position. The battle was deemed a striking success: Plumer, in charge of Second Army, describing it as “the greatest victory since the Marne” (quoted in Bean’s The Australian Imperial Force in France) – this was largely due to the startling gains made by the 3rd Australian Division. However, in March 1918, the date appended to the map, the Germans launched Operation Michael, their great spring offensive that threw the Allies on to the back foot. The brunt of the initial assault fell to the south of Broodseinde but between 9 and 29 April the second phase of the German drive centred along this part of the line, in an attack known as the Lys Offensive, with the result that this sector changed hands for the fourth or fifth time during the war. Other features sketched here are a building, doubtless in ruins, on the road running east-west from “Beecham” (a German-built deep dug-out, captured and utilised by the British) and the north-south running Broodseinde-Niewmolen Road.

Henry Percy Manton (1894-1984), the officer responsible for this view, was born at Weymouth, Dorset, and educated at Imperial College, London. He initially served as a private with the 2nd County of London Yeomanry (Westminster Dragoons), before being commissioned in the Royal Garrison Artillery (Special Reserve) 5 March 1917 and promoted to lieutenant on 5 September 1918. He was still serving in 1919 but would have been demobilized around the end of that year. The title of the panorama, “View from D234”, suggests that Manton’s unit was D234 Battery, R.G.A., an eight-inch howitzer battery. After the war he lived at Retford, Nottinghamshire, and from early 1920 was a field manager with Lobitos Oilfields Ltd., based in Peru; he was also a member of the Geological Society of London.

It was essential for Forward Observation Officers, either new to Front Line work or in a new position, to study the physical features and locations in the target area of their unit. A proven method of familiarising oneself with the ground was to draw it, utilising sketching skills learned during officer training. In late 1916, David Jones, author of In Parenthesis, one of the major books of the Great War, was posted to an Observation Group attached to the Royal Engineers in the same sector of the front, described by Jones’s biographer Thomas Dilworth as “the extreme northern end of the British line and its area of most concentrated violence” (David Jones in the Great War, 2012, p. 132). Here he made sketches similar to that made by Manton.

“Brielen, August 1917. Mark I or Mark IV tank,” by David Jones (1895-1974). The Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum / The David Jones Literary Estate via First World War Poetry Digital Archive.

Another representation of the Battlefield at Passchendaele: Paul Nash (1889-1946) Shell Bursting, Paschendeale. © IWM (Art.IWM ART 1604)

Such surviving panoramas are rare in private hands; this particularly fine example – rendered at a critical juncture on the Western Front – was no doubt retained by the artist as a souvenir of his experiences on the infamous Passchendaele Ridge. It is a poignant pictorial record of real immediacy, capturing the archetypal image of a landscape likened by Jones to the wasteland of Malory’s “King Pellam’s Launde”, and described so memorably by him: “Very slowly the dissipating mist reveals saturate green-grey flats, and dark up-jutting things; and pollared boles by more than timely wood-craftsman’s cunning pruning dockt, – these weeping willows shorn”.

 

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CHURCHILL, Winston S. Lord Randolph Churchill [with jackets] 1906.

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2 volumes, octavo. Original red cloth, titles and gilt rules to spines, title and Marlborough crest gilt and blind rules to front boards. With the dust jackets. Housed in a custom red cloth solander box, with a set of the first US edition. First edition, first impression, one of only two known copies with the original dust jacket, and the earliest Churchill title thus issued. Cohen, who had never seen a copy of the second volume in the dust jacket, suggests 6,250 as “a very close approximation of the number of copies sold … includ[ing] both the Macmillan and The Times Book Club issues. I have seen no information which would enable me to separate the number of copies in each issue”. Churchill’s biography of his father was published on 2 January 1906 to “almost universal acclaim in the Press” (Churchill, Winston S. Churchill II) the Sunday Times remarking on Churchill’s “maturity of judgement, levelheadedness and discretion” and the Spectator praising his style: “He has chosen the grand manner … but the general effect is of dignity and ease.” Churchill also received plaudits from a number of well-known political biographers, J. A. Spender, biographer of Campbell-Bannerman and Asquith, called it a “brilliant book”, and W. F. Monypenny, author of the Life of Disraeli, remarked that “alike in style and architecture and for its spirit, grasp and insight the book seems to me truly admirable”.

CHURCHILL, Winston S. My Early Life. 1930.

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Octavo. Original dark pink cloth, titles to spine and front board gilt, publisher’s device and broad single rules to covers in blind, bottom edge untrimmed. First edition, first impression, first state of the text (without the cancel half-title), second state of binding as usual. “In all 11,000 copies of the full-priced British edition were sold” (Cohen). Churchill’s first volume of sustained biography is a highly entertaining account of his childhood, schooldays at Harrow, military training at Sandhurst, experiences as a war correspondent in Cuba, and service attached to the Malakand field force on the northwest frontier of India, charging with the 21st lancers at Omdurman, and as a POW in South Africa during the Boer War.

CHURCHILL, Winston S. Step by Step 1936–1939.

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Octavo. Original green cloth, gilt-lettered spine, blind rules extending over spine and front board, front board with publisher’s device in blind. With the dust jacket. Housed in a custom green morocco solander box. First edition, first impression, an unusually bright copy of Churchill’s final book before the outbreak of the Second World War, and the last published by Thornton Butterworth, who went into liquidation shortly after. Churchill’s weekly commentaries arguing against appeasement were first published in the Evening Standard and subsequently syndicated throughout Europe. On receiving his own copy from Churchill, Clement Atlee wrote, “It must be a melancholy satisfaction to you to see how right you were” (cited after Cohen). Cohen states that Step By Step was published in an edition of 7,500 copies on 27 June, just over two months before the declaration of war. The condition of most copies encountered suggests that the book was read avidly, a fate which this copy appears to have been entirely spared.

CHURCHILL, Winston S. Arms and the Covenant. 1938.

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Lower out corners very lightly bumped, small pale mark to rear board (20 x 10 mm), half-title partially tanned. An exceptionally bright copy in the dust jacket with a few small spots, a very short closed tear to the foot of the spine panel, and trivial nicks at the foot of the joints between panels and flaps. First edition, sole printing, a superb copy in the scarce first issue jacket, priced 18/- net. A total of 5,000 copies were printed; according to Woods 3,381 were sold at 18 shillings before June 1940, when the book was re-issued as a cheap edition, priced at 7s. 6d (though Churchill wrote to Clementine two weeks after publication claiming 4,000 had been sold). An important collection of Churchill’s speeches, warning of the dangers of a rearmed Germany. A contemporary review in the journal of the Royal Institute for International Affairs noted that “apart from their literary graces” Churchill’s speeches were remarkable because of “the restraint of their language” in view of the “blunders and inaccuracies” of the government and for his technical mastery: “There seems to be nothing from Naval Strategy to the jigs and tools in an aircraft factory … on which Mr Churchill is not an expert.”

CHURCHILL, Winston S. Great Contemporaries. 1937.

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Octavo. Original blue cloth, spine lettered in gilt with blind rules extending over boards, publisher’s device in blind to both boards, title gilt to front, top edge blue. With the dust jacket. Housed in a custom blue morocco solander box. First edition, first impression, first state, a superb copy of this series of essays on “Great men of our age”, which includes T. E. Lawrence, Trotsky and Hitler (“We cannot tell whether Hitler will be the man who will once again let loose upon the world another war in which civilization will irretrievably succumb, or whether he will go down in history as the man who restored honour and peace of mind to the great Germanic nation and brought it back serene, helpful and strong, to the forefront of the European family circle”). On receiving his advance copy, Neville Chamberlain wrote to Churchill immediately; “How you can go on throwing off these sparkling sketches with such apparent ease & such sustained brilliance, in the midst of all your other occupations is a constant source of wonder to me” (cited after Cohen). One of 5,000 copies printed.

CHURCHILL, Winston S. Lord Randolph Churchill [without jackets] 1906.

Peter Harrington Bookseller Blog -

2 volumes, octavo. Original red cloth, titles and gilt rules to spines, title and Marlborough crest gilt and blind rules to front boards. With the dust jackets. Housed in a custom red cloth solander box, with a set of the first US edition. First edition, first impression, one of only two known copies with the original dust jacket, and the earliest Churchill title thus issued. Cohen, who had never seen a copy of the second volume in the dust jacket, suggests 6,250 as “a very close approximation of the number of copies sold … includ[ing] both the Macmillan and The Times Book Club issues. I have seen no information which would enable me to separate the number of copies in each issue”. Churchill’s biography of his father was published on 2 January 1906 to “almost universal acclaim in the Press” (Churchill, Winston S. Churchill II) the Sunday Times remarking on Churchill’s “maturity of judgement, levelheadedness and discretion” and the Spectator praising his style: “He has chosen the grand manner … but the general effect is of dignity and ease.” Churchill also received plaudits from a number of well-known political biographers, J. A. Spender, biographer of Campbell-Bannerman and Asquith, called it a “brilliant book”, and W. F. Monypenny, author of the Life of Disraeli, remarked that “alike in style and architecture and for its spirit, grasp and insight the book seems to me truly admirable”.

CHURCHILL, Winston S. Thoughts and Adventures. 1932.

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Octavo. Original brown cloth, spine lettered in gilt with blind rules extending over boards, publisher’s device in blind to both boards, title gilt to front. With the dust jacket. First edition, first impression, an exceptional copy in the dust jacket, of the second volume of Churchill’s autobiographical writings, covering his early political career, the battle of Sidney Street, service on the Western Front (with a near-silence on Gallipoli), the negotiation of the Irish settlement, thoughts on the “Mass effects of modern life” and life “Fifty years hence”. The success of Thoughts and Adventures, a collection of Churchill’s magazine and newspaper journalism written in the same lighter, informal style as My Early Life, came as a considerable surprise to the publisher. It was published on 10 November 1932 in a run of 4,000 copies, and three additional printings (of 1,000 each) were required in the same month, two of them before publication, Butterworth writing to Churchill: “We are truly delighted at this success which confounds the Jonahs of the Bookselling trade … To keep pace with the increasing demand, we had to get both printers and binders to work overtime. The sheets were delivered by passenger train, and the cases were made by the binders in advance” (cited after Cohen).

CHURCHILL, Winston S. The People’s Rights. 1910.

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Very shallow chip to head of joints, a few very faint marks to front wrapper, rear wrapper slightly soiled with mild chipping to top edge and lower outer corner, and a slight crease across the upper outer corner, cloth cord from binding adhering to half-title (production flaw), with concomitant stripping to front panel verso, the text unaffected, contents browned, upper outer corners pp. 67-76 lightly creased or soiled, very short closed tear to top edge of p. 67/8, shallow chip to outer corners of pp. 147-52, the text never affected, mild soiling to p. 152 nevertheless an uncommonly well-preserved copy of an extremely fragile publication. First edition, first Daily News issue, retaining the index, and page 71 mispaginated “1”. The People’s Rights was issued in cloth and in paper wrappers. The wrappered form comprised a general issue and at least five local newspaper issues, with the name of the distributing newspaper (Daily News, Sheffield Independent, North Mail, Yorkshire Observer or Liverpool Daily Post & Liverpool Mercury) included on the front wrapper. Despite a print run of 40,000 copies, “all issues of The People’s Rights are extremely scarce” (Cohen), on account of the quality of the materials, and the cheap method of production; the local issues are inevitably of particular rarity. Cohen examined only two copies of the first Daily News, one retaining with the index, the other with a second appendix in its place: the copy he cites as representing the second issue has two appendices and corrected pagination.

CHURCHILL, Winston S. Liberalism and the Social Problem [with jacket]. 1909.

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Octavo. Original red cloth, titles to spine gilt, author’s facsimile signature to front board gilt. With the photographically illustrated dust jacket. First edition, first impression, one of three copies known in dust jacket, of which one is known to be substantially damaged. The jacket is also noted for its use of Churchill’s portrait on the front panel: this was an era when most jackets were purely typographical or reproduced the design on the binding. One of 4,000 copies printed, of which 465 constituted the American issue.

CHURCHILL, Winston S. India. Speeches and an Introduction. 1931.

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Octavo. Original orange cloth, spine and front board lettered in black between blind rules, publisher’s device in blind to lower outer corner of both boards. With the dust jacket. First edition, first impression, the rare case-bound “library” issue, variant binding with the spine lettering reading “India – Churchill” only. Of utmost rarity in the dust jacket, with just three other such copies traced at auction in the last fifty years. Cohen does not record the initial print-run for India, but this is moreover the only case-bound copy we have handled. The 1930s are characterized as Churchill’s wilderness years, with his unrelenting opposition to Hitler being seen as main cause for his ostracism. However “another, and earlier reason lay in his bitter opposition to Baldwin’s India policy … Churchill had always hit hard; not for him a round of gentlemanly sparring between friends. His fight to maintain full control of India employed not just the clenched fist but the bludgeon” (Woods, Artillery of Words).

CHURCHILL, Winston S. India. Speeches and an Introduction. 1931.

Peter Harrington Bookseller Blog -

Octavo. Original orange cloth, spine and front board lettered in black between blind rules, publisher’s device in blind to lower outer corner of both boards. With the dust jacket. First edition, first impression, the rare case-bound “library” issue, variant binding with the spine lettering reading “India – Churchill” only. Of utmost rarity in the dust jacket, with just three other such copies traced at auction in the last fifty years. Cohen does not record the initial print-run for India, but this is moreover the only case-bound copy we have handled. The 1930s are characterized as Churchill’s wilderness years, with his unrelenting opposition to Hitler being seen as main cause for his ostracism. However “another, and earlier reason lay in his bitter opposition to Baldwin’s India policy … Churchill had always hit hard; not for him a round of gentlemanly sparring between friends. His fight to maintain full control of India employed not just the clenched fist but the bludgeon” (Woods, Artillery of Words).

CARROLL, Lewis. Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, 1893.

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Octavo. Original red cloth, titles to spine gilt, triple rules to covers gilt, black coated endpapers, all edges gilt. Housed in a custom red quarter morocco and black cloth solander box. Frontispiece with tissue-guard, 49 illustrations by John Tenniel. Front hinge starting, some faint foxing to outer leaves, otherwise internally fresh. An exceptional copy. Charles Dodgson’s annotated copy of the third edition, and one of only four copies known in the original cloth. In a situation reminiscent of the recalled 1865 Alice, this is the suppressed impression of Through the Looking-Glass. Dodgson summarises the printing problems that led to its suppression on the half-title here: “Received Nov. 21/93. Paper too white, 26 pictures over-printed, 8 of them very bad”, and has annotated the text with 34 comments on the production faults (“very much over-printed, very bad indeed … very bad folding”). Dodgson made it a “point of supreme importance, that all books, sold for me, shall be the best attainable for the price”, and such was his dismay with the printing quality that it almost provoked the termination of his contract with his long-time publishers. Dodgson wrote to Frederick Macmillan the same day he annotated this copy, complaining that “the book is worthless … much as I should regret the having to sever a connection that has now lasted nearly 30 years, I shall feel myself absolutely compelled to do so, unless I can have some assurance that better care shall be taken, in future, to ensure that my books shall be of the best artistic quality attainable for the money” (Letters, p. 995). Only 60 copies of this impression had gone out when Dodgson asked Macmillan to destroy the remainder, but Dodgson escalated the dispute, halting the working-off of Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, and demanding that “no more Wonderlands are to be printed, from the present electrotypes, till I give permission” (24 November 1893). Through the Looking-Glass remained out of print until 1897, although the whole of the impression was not in fact destroyed: Dodgson changed his mind and had it rebound for distribution to charitable institutions, as had been done with the suppressed first edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In an unpublished census, Selwyn Goodacre traced four copies in the original cloth, though one of these is since lost.

(BIBLE; English; Douai version.) The Holie Bible, 1609–10.

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2 volumes, quarto (225 x 168 mm). Contemporary gilt-tooled calf, central gilt-stamped oval “IHS” with crucifix surrounded by flames, frames with elaborate scrollwork, spines gilt-stamped with repeated floral stamp; rebacked with original spines laid down, corners mended. Housed in a black flat back cloth solander box by the Chelsea Bindery. Titles within typographic ornament borders, woodcut headpieces and decorative initials. Bookplates of Robert S. Pirie. An occasional minor marginal spot or smudge, a very good copy. First edition of the Roman Catholic version of the Old Testament in English, in a contemporary Douai binding. Presentation copy from John Knatchbull, vice-president of the English College at Douai to Lady Joanna Berkeley (1555/6–1616), abbess of the Benedictine Convent of the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady, Brussels, with his inscription at the head of the title page of vol. 2: “John Knatchbull to the honorable Lady and his most respected mother the Lay [sic] Barkley Abbesse of the English Monastery in Bruxells”. The translation from the Vulgate is largely the work of Gregory Martin; the annotations are ascribed to Thomas Worthington, who became president of the College at Douai in 1599.

BAUM, L. Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. 1900.

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Quarto. Original state A binding of light green cloth pictorially stamped and lettered in red and a darker green, pictorial pastedown endpapers, issued without free endpapers. With 24 colour plates (including title). Some light wear to spine ends and tips, some soiling to covers, short tear head of front hinge and ends of rear hinge, text block sound, internally fresh. An excellent copy. First edition, in the rare and desirable first state of both text and binding. The text has the following points: on p. [2], the publisher’s advertisement has a box; on p. 14, line 1 has the misprint “low wail on the wind”; p. 81, line 4 from bottom has “peices” uncorrected; p. [227], line 1 begins: “While Tin Woodman…”; the colophon is in 11 lines within a two-line box; with unbroken type in the last lines of p. 100 and p. 186. The plate opposite page 34 is in the earliest state with two blue spots on the moon; the stork plate opposite page 92 is the earliest state with red shading on the horizon; the copyright notice is not stamped or printed on the verso of the title. The binding is in first state with the publisher’s imprint at the foot of the spine printed in capitals and in green; the rays surrounding the emerald on the lower cover are not outlined.

Gone with the Wind inscribed by Vivien Leigh

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“The girl I select must be possessed of the devil and charged with electricity” (G. Cukor, pre-production and casting director of Gone with the Wind)

Vivien Leigh’s journey towards being cast as Scarlett O’Hara in David O. Selznick’s epic production of Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel Gone with the Wind is the stuff of movie legend.

The search for the right actress to play Scarlett was the biggest casting call in the history of cinema, taking two-and-a-half years, with over 1,400 actresses interviewed for the part. But, as shooting began on 10 December 1938, the role had not yet been cast.

That very night, as cameras began rolling for the filming of the iconic “Burning of Atlanta” scene, Selznick was introduced to Vivien Leigh for the first time: he’d finally found his Scarlett O’Hara.

Leigh had been waiting for this moment a long time. The story goes that, having read the novel at Christmas 1936, she’d felt an overwhelming affinity with the lead character and become obsessed with the idea of winning the role in the forthcoming film. Despite her relative obscurity as an actress at the time, her determination never wavered. She was so sure that she would get the part, various biographers have claimed, that she presented copies of the book to her fellow actors on the opening night of the theatrical play she was starring in at the time — two years before she was cast as Scarlett!

Stuff of legend? Well, we have proof-positive that this long-held piece of Scarlett/Vivien folklore is in fact true: a 1937 copy of Gone with the Wind inscribed by Vivien Leigh to one of those very cast members. Until now, none of these copies had come to light.

This is not only a stunning piece of Gone with the Wind memorabilia, but also a testament to Leigh’s self-belief and strength of will in pursuing the role of a lifetime, vindicated by her Oscar-winning performance and the film’s enduring success.

Read on for the full catalogue description.

A grail-like object for Gone with the Wind collectors, this is one of a handful of copies rumoured to have been inscribed by Leigh to her fellow cast members on the opening night of one of her earliest West End appearances. She presented them as a token of her personal certainty and powerful determination that she would be cast as Scarlett O’Hara, the Oscar-winning role that was to establish her as Hollywood’s brightest new star. Asserted by successive biographers but never properly referenced, prior to the emergence of this one the existence of these copies might have been consigned to the apocrypha of wishful Hollywood anecdotage. No other such copy has been traced institutionally or in commerce, and just a single dead-end reference on the net, placing one with a Boston dealer sometime in the distant past, offered evidence of them outside of the pages of the biographies.

This is the fifth printing, published January 1937 (first published May 1936). The book was inscribed shortly after Leigh first read the novel, an apparently sibylline act, but in reality epitomising her insatiable ambition in pursuit of securing her iconic role. Leigh had discovered Gone with the Wind over the Christmas 1936 holiday during her recuperation from a skiing accident, and she read it as rehearsals started for Because We Must, “a light effort by playwright Ingaret Giffard” in which she played Pamela Golding-Ffrench, her first lead role in a West End play (Edwards, p. 73). “Her enthusiasm for Gone with the Wind grew every day as she voraciously read through the 1,000 pages” (Capua, p. 36). Anthony Holden asserts that “the most memorable thing about the first night of Because we must … was that she happened to give all her fellow members of the cast copies of a new novel she had just read, Gone with the Wind, with whose heroine she felt a strong and urgent sympathy” (Holden, 1988).

She inscribed this copy on the front pastedown to Anthony Ireland, who played Hugh Greatorex: “Anthony Ireland, from Vivien Leigh. (Because we must.) February 5th 1937.” Ireland was hastily cast, “commandeered from rehearsals of As You Like It” the day before the opening night, as a last-minute replacement for the actor Anthony Bruce, who had been taken ill with appendicitis (Variety, 7 February 1937, p. 4). The play was short-lived, running 5–20 February, and “Vivien’s role was the only dimensional and theatrical one in the play. Need overbalanced judgment, for it is doubtful that she would have accepted the part in view of her lack of belief in the play’s merits if she thought there was another choice” (Edwards, p. 73).

It is interesting that her handwriting here is very neat and controlled. It’s a significant contrast to her later handwriting, which, though still legible, became much more scrawling. The change in how she wrote “Leigh” for example, is demonstrated below. The first image, taken from her 1932 appointment diary, shows her pre-fame hand: it’s neat and closely written. The second, a copy of Gone with the Wind signed by the entire cast, displays a much spikier, more scrawling hand — this is the hand autograph collectors will be more accustomed to seeing.

 

(left) One of Vivien Leigh’s appointment books (currently held in the V&A) used to match the hand to the ‘Because we must’ copy (right)

Gone with the Wind signed by the entire cast (image via The Hollywood Reporter)

The mythical status of these presentations was almost confirmed, entirely incorrectly, when the inscription in the present copy was rejected by a London auction house as being in a hand other than Leigh’s. However, close comparison with Leigh’s contemporary appointment diaries in the V&A shows a perfect match. By undertaking a thorough examination of those diaries, our experts were able to authenticate this as being entirely in her hand at the time of presentation.

Ironically, just two nights before she inscribed this copy, David Selznick had noted “I have no enthusiasm for Vivien Leigh” in a cable to his New York production executive (Spicer, p. 166). Her agent John Gliddon relayed the news, but Leigh nevertheless remained unwavering in her conviction that the role would be hers. Caroline Lejeune, The Observer’s film critic, vividly recalled a conversation in mid-1937 about the casting of Gone with the Wind, in which it was suggested that Olivier could play Rhett Butler. Leigh drew herself up, and foretold: “Larry won’t play Rhett Butler, but I shall play Scarlett O’Hara. Wait and see.” (Spicer, p. 166).

It is difficult to imagine a piece more eloquently evocative of her defiant certainty. Whether the myth exaggerated Leigh’s generosity, and that this was in fact the only copy that she presented, cannot be asserted definitively. However it is the only known surviving example, and the absolute confirmation of this celebrated demonstration of Leigh’s almost uncanny certainty.

The mythical status of these presentations was almost confirmed, entirely incorrectly, when the inscription in the present copy was rejected by a London auction house as being in a hand other than Leigh’s. However, close comparison with Leigh’s contemporary appointment diaries in the V&A shows a perfect match. By undertaking a thorough examination of those diaries, our experts were able to authenticate this as being entirely in her hand at the time of presentation.

Ironically, just two nights before she inscribed this copy, David Selznick had noted “I have no enthusiasm for Vivien Leigh” in a cable to his New York production executive. Her agent John Gliddon relayed the news, but Leigh nevertheless remained unwavering in her conviction that the role would be hers. Caroline Lejeune, The Observer’s film critic, vividly recalled a conversation in mid-1937 about the casting of Gone with the Wind, in which it was suggested that Olivier could play Rhett Butler. Leigh drew herself up, and foretold: “Larry won’t play Rhett Butler, but I shall play Scarlett O’Hara. Wait and see.”

It is difficult to imagine a piece more eloquently evocative of her defiant certainty. Whether the myth exaggerated Leigh’s generosity, and that this was in fact the only copy that she presented, cannot be asserted definitively. However it is the only known surviving example, and the absolute confirmation of this celebrated demonstration of Leigh’s almost uncanny certainty.

Sources

Capua, Vivien Leigh: A Biography, 2003; Edwards, Vivien Leigh, 1978; Holden, Olivier, 1988; Spicer, Clark Gable: Biography, Filmography, Bibliography; Variety, New York, Wednesday 17 February 1937 (“Appendicitis seized Anthony Bruce on eve of production of Because We Must at Wyndham’s. Anthony Ireland hastily commandeered from rehearsals of As You Like It and show opened the following night”).

History is a Nightclub: Downtown AREA, NYC, 1983-87

Peter Harrington Bookseller Blog -

An Exhibition of Never-Before-Seen Photography by Ben Buchanan Peter Harrington, 43 Dover Street, 3rd – 31st October

We are pleased to announce that we will shortly be exhibiting a series of remarkable and previously unseen photographs depicting a pivotal moment in the history of modern art: the Downtown club scene in 1980s New York. These candid images of of Basquiat, Warhol, Haring and Hockney at play – alongside celebrity friends such as Tom Waits, The Beastie Boys, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Grace Jones – were taken by Ben Buchanan during his time working as in-house photographer for the legendary Area nightclub.

“I had turned up at AREA looking for a job,” says Buchanan, “and they gave me a camera I had no idea how to use and they told me to point it at anything interesting.”

“It was the club that everyone wanted to get into – even the invitations to each theme were inventive and covetable, while the decorations were often brought in from movie sets.”

Re-imagining itself every few months and often appealing to its artist patrons for help in the redecorations, Area was a hub for luminaries of the art, fashion and media world. Grace Jones can be seen posing with a stuffed lion on her brithday, during the club’s Natural History incarnation, while Jean-Michel Basquiat – whose work is currently enjoying its first full-scale UK exhibition at the Barbican – is seen variously DJ-ing, embracing Andy Warhol and painting a canvas. “They were always creating something, even when they were relaxing,” says Buchanan.

All the photographs on display will be signed limited edition prints annotated by the photographer, and will be offered for sale by Peter Harrington from the 3rd October onward.

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