Catalog 100, J-L

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50. JOYCE, James. Ulysses. NY: Random House (1934). The first American edition of the book that redefined the modern novel, and to which all postmodern writing since has been compared. With this book and his later, and last, novel, Finnegans Wake, Joyce expanded the parameters of modern fiction, self-consciously applying a variety of literary techniques to the description of one day in the life of the book's characters. A groundbreaking novel, originally published in Paris in 1922, thereby becoming the model of experimentation, and the anchor of literary accomplishment for that extraordinary generation of expatriate writers who came to be known as the "Lost Generation." Published on January 25, 1934, the first edition was sold out prior to publication. This copy was ordered on December 14, 1933. Laid in is an acknowledgement of that order; a letter dated January 23 announcing publication, requesting payment, and informing the recipient that the first printing had already sold out and no more "firsts" would be available; and a receipt (for $3.61) on a Modern Library invoice (Random House being a subsidiary of The Modern Library). Sixty-four years later, the Modern Library would name Ulysses the number one book on its list of the 100 greatest English-language novels of the century. The title also appeared in the top ten of the Radcliffe list and the Waterstone's list and on the New York Public Library's Books of the Century. Also laid in to this copy is a photocopy of a contemporary New York Times book review. Fine in a very near fine dust jacket with trace shelfwear. A very attractive copy of one of the great books of the century which, because of its unlaminated, coarse paper dust jacket, is seldom found in such condition.

51. JOYCE, James. Finnegans Wake. London: Faber & Faber, 1939. The limited edition of Joyce's final novel, one of 425 numbered copies signed by the author. Considered by many to be his best work, a culmination of the experimentation with language and structure that he had begun with Ulysses. Together, the two volumes decisively influenced all subsequent fiction, by their use of language, interior monologue, stream-of-consciousness and, most importantly, by their intent to broaden the subject of the novel to encompass the widest range of human activity and knowledge. This copy has a small bookplate removal abrasion to front pastedown; else fine in a very good slipcase with modest soiling and a dampstain to one edge. A Burgess title, a Connolly title, a Radcliffe and a Modern Library book of the century.

52. KEROUAC, John. The Town and the City. NY: Harcourt Brace (1950). The first novel by the author of On the Road, written in the style of Kerouac's idol, Thomas Wolfe. While Kerouac later publicly dismissed this novel as "dead" -- contrasting it with the stream-of-consciousness style that he adopted for his later novels -- at least one critic called it "an excellent novel in the Wolfeian autobiographic style." In fact, Kerouac's correspondence shows him to have been preparing to write On the Road while this novel was still unpublished, and to have envisioned them as being of a piece, both arising from the fact that he self-consciously viewed himself as a writer. While not as deliberately experimental or jazz-inspired as his later books, especially On the Road, The Town and the City clearly shows Kerouac's literary antecedents, and his view of himself as a literary artist, long before he came to be a cultural icon -- a fact that is still not fully appreciated in the literary and scholarly community. This copy is signed by the author, "John Kerouac," on the front endpaper -- an early signature, as he later signed his books "Jack Kerouac," after the success of On the Road. Some fading to the top stain, corners very slightly bumped; near fine in a very near fine dust jacket with trace rubbing at the extremities. A very attractive copy of one of the most important fiction debuts of the postwar period, and extremely scarce with a contemporary signature. In custom folding chemise and gilt stamped, full morocco slipcase.

      (KEROUAC, Jack). See also item #147.

53. KINGSOLVER, Barbara. The Bean Trees. NY: Harper & Row (1988). An advance review copy of the author's highly praised first novel, which combines a strong sense of place, warm humor and an active social conscience. Fine in a fine dust jacket. One of the most sought-after, and most elusive first books of recent years. A very nice copy of this advance state of an uncommon first book.

54. KINSELLA, W.P. Born Indian. (Canada): (Oberon) (1981). The hardcover edition of the fourth book by the author of the award-winning Shoeless Joe, a collection of Indian stories set on the Hobbema Reserve, the setting of two of his earlier books. While all of Kinsella's hardcover editions from Oberon are uncommon -- with print runs that are said to have been in the low hundreds -- this is the title that, other than his first book, seems the scarcest. Fine in a fine dust jacket. A flawless copy of one of his most difficult books; inscribed by the author on the title page.

55. KOSINSKI, Jerzy. "NOVAK, Joseph." The Future is Ours, Comrade. London: Bodley Head (1960). The first British edition of the author's first book, a pseudonymously published nonfiction account of Russia in the postwar years, predating his first novel, The Painted Bird, by five years. Inscribed by the author as "Jerzy Kosinski" in 1982. Stripe at bottom page edges; very good in a very good dust jacket chipped at the upper front spine fold.

56. LAWRENCE, D.H. Pansies. London: Privately Printed (1929). First "definitive" edition of this collection of poems by the author of Women in Love and Lady Chatterly's Lover, among others, who was one of the most controversial literary figures of his time: Lawrence challenged the contemporary taboos for the description of romantic love and sexual activity, and as a result much of his most famous writing was banned and had to be printed privately. It was not until three decades after Lawrence's death, in fact, that Lady Chatterly's Lover could be published unexpurgated in England and America. Pansies was published the year after a volume of Lawrence's collected poems had been issued, and it was first published in England by Martin Secker in July, 1929, but Lawrence himself had to arrange to print this unexpurgated edition in August. This is one of 50 numbered copies bound in full leather and signed by the author, the smallest limitation of any of the various issues of this title. Foxing to endpages, as usual, else fine in slipcase. Roberts A47d.

57. LAWRENCE, T.E. The Odyssey of Homer. NY: Oxford U. Press, 1932. The first American edition, one of only 34 numbered copies (25 for sale), printed to secure American copyright, this being one of only eleven bound in crushed morocco. Lawrence's translation of The Odyssey was commissioned in 1928, two years after his landmark volume Seven Pillars of Wisdom -- which recounted the author's exploits as "Lawrence of Arabia" -- was published, and he completed the translation nearly five years later. It was his last major work and proved extremely successful, having been printed in a remarkable range of editions, from this beautiful copyright edition, based on the English edition published earlier the same year and designed by Bruce Rogers, to a paperback edition distributed free to American servicemen during the Second World War. Original rust-brown crushed morocco, spine gilt-lettered with five raised bands, publisher's original linen strengthening at inner hinges, top edge gilt. Bookplate front pastedown; light shelfwear at extremities; else fine, in custom clamshell box. A beautiful copy of one of the scarcest books in the Lawrence canon. O'Brien A148.

58. LESSING, Doris. The Golden Notebook. London: Michael Joseph (1962). One of the most important novels in the past fifty years, which helped define the issues confronting the Women's Movement, before there was such a movement. The novel recounts the life and work of a woman writer, by juxtaposing the novel she is writing with the comments she writes in a series of notebooks. The resolution is contained in the final notebook, the golden one, which weaves together the various, often disparate strands of her life and work. This copy is signed by the author. One slight corner bump, foxing to foredge, and minor offsetting to endpages; near fine in a near fine, lightly foxed dust jacket with trivial chipping to the upper edge. A feminist classic, which is quite uncommon in the first edition and exceptionally uncommon signed.

59. LOWELL, Robert. For the Union Dead. NY: FSG (1964). A collection of poems by the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, this volume having been nominated for the National Book Award. This copy was given by Lowell to a lover and is inscribed by the author. With an additional notation in the recipient's hand, and with her signature, stating that the book was a gift during her love affair with Lowell. Trace edge-sunning and light wear at the spine base; near fine in a near fine dust jacket with one short edge tear. A key title by one of the most influential American poets of the postwar era: Lowell had been jailed as a conscientious objector during the Second World War and later became one of the more outspoken critics in the literary community of U.S. policy during the Vietnam War. His poetry had helped establish the "confessional" mode in contemporary poetry, and later he included much material in his writing concerning social and political issues. This title marks the first expression in his poetry of such a strand of social criticism, albeit focused on a Civil War monument in the Boston Common. A significant personal association copy.

60. (LOWRY, Malcolm). SIMPSON, W.G. "Canada and Malcolm Lowry." (n.p.: n.p., n.d.). (1947-1957). Four pages (numbered 2-5), a partial typescript, of Simpson's article on Lowry, heavily edited and annotated by Malcolm Lowry. This section of the typescript runs about 1300 words, and Lowry's comments add up to just under 300 words. The comments Lowry has appended are remarkable in their candor. In one section, where Simpson discusses the success of Under the Volcano, Lowry added the following somewhat caustic, self-deprecating comment: "And re his success, you can say that the author considered it extremely bad for him, & wishes that he had been left in the darkness to flounder and fail..." Another section concerns the alcoholism in Lowry's family, and Lowry crossed out the entire paragraph, remarking "We will have to cut this; I'll replace it with something, however." Throughout, the view of the writer commenting on himself is stark and Lowry-esque: in a section that refers to him as having been a fisherman, Lowry pointed out that he is a "bloody liar" and that his "sole (sic) affinity with fish would seem to be that I have (a) a certain reputation for swimming like one, (b) drinking like one." At another point, Simpson writes about the "literary atmosphere" in which Under the Volcano was written, and Lowry comments in the margin: "There was no literary atmosphere till afterwards: we lived in darkness, loneliness, storm, murk, alone, etc." A remarkable self-commentary by the author of one of the great novels of the century, which was #11 on the Modern Library list. The pages are folded once and edge-darkened; near fine.

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