Catalog 134, I-K
34. IRVING, John. The 158-Pound Marriage. NY: Random House (1974). His third novel. Inscribed by the author to the legendary wrestling coach Henry Littlefield "with my appreciation," with a full-page self-caricature in wrestling uniform. Littlefield was himself a national champion wrestler, and he later coached a New York prep team to the state championships before coaching at Amherst College and finishing his career with 24 years on the west coast. Irving practiced with Littlefield when Littlefield was at Amherst and Irving was an Assistant Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College, ten miles away. Wrestling has been a big part of Irving's life -- he competed from the time he was in high school until he was in his mid-30s, and he built a wrestling room onto his house in Vermont where he reportedly continues to practice -- and the sport figured into his first several novels, including giving the title to this one. Littlefield was, in addition to being a coach, active in the theater and arts, being a member of the Screen Actors Guild and publishing a notable paper on the Wizard of Oz as a "parable of populism," among other writings. He had his team put on a play each year, humorously depicting the history of wrestling over 3000 years. Irving reportedly would bring the manuscript of his work-in-progress at the time -- which became The World According to Garp -- to Amherst College when he was practicing with Littlefield, and would read sections of it to the members of the wrestling team. Irving refers to Littlefield affectionately in his memoir Trying to Save Piggy Sneed. In an interview in Salon magazine, Irving pointed out that he had always had two sets of friends -- the literary types and the athletes -- and they were practically mutually exclusive. Littlefield would have been one of the few friends Irving had who bridged the gap between his literary side and his athletic side. An excellent association copy. A little offsetting to spine cloth; still fine in a fine dust jacket with a crease on the front flap. In custom clamshell box.
35. IRVING, John. A Prayer for Owen Meany. NY: Morrow, (1989). The trade publisher's limited edition of what may be his best-loved novel. One of 250 numbered copies signed by the author. Fine in acetate dust jacket and slipcase. There was also a Franklin Library edition, which preceded the publisher's editions and a signed limited edition produced by the Book of the Month Club, but this edition is by far the scarcest of them and most desirable.
Jack Kerouac / Steve Allen - Correspondence and Photographs
36. KEROUAC, Jack. Correspondence with Steve Allen. April 1958 - February 1959. Two typed notes from Kerouac to Allen. The first, dated April 14, 1958, from Orlando, is typed upside down on 8-1/2" x 11" white lined paper and requests that Allen "arrange another evening like the one you planned" as Kerouac had been unable to keep their proposed date due to having to pick up his "mother & cats to take them back to the new house I bought in Long Island." The note is unsigned, but is folded in sixths for mailing and the original hand-addressed mailing envelope is stapled on verso. The second note, signed in full, is on a half sheet of paper, approximately 8-1/2" x 4-1/2", and is dated February 19, 1959, from his home in Northport, N.Y. -- the Long Island house referred to in the previous letter. Kerouac apologizes for declining a gift from Allen, a subscription to The Independent which had offended his mother with an article on the Pope. He further inquires about his and Allen's record coming out, informs Allen of his first full-length book of poems, published by Grove [Mexico City Blues], and enthuses about Harpo Marx and the Three Stooges. Also included is a retained copy of Allen's dictated reply, in part: "I sent your subscription on to Groucho Marx so all is well." Allen says that he understands about The Independent and that his own mother would not allow a copy of it in the house either. On the record Kerouac mentions, Kerouac read poetry and Allen played the piano. Together with two 8" x 10" black and white photographs of Kerouac and Allen together at Allen's piano, with a copy of On the Road on top, and one of the photos being a shot of them appearing on television. Other than folds and staple holes, all items near fine. Kerouac's appearance on the Steve Allen Show gave a kind of mainstream legitimacy to him, and by extension to the other Beat writers, and he collaborated with Allen on the record album, "Poetry for the Beat Generation."
Jack Kerouac Love Letter, pre-On the Road
37. KEROUAC, Jack. Typed Letter Signed. December 1956. A full page love letter to Helen Weaver ("Sweetheart"), mailed on New Year's Eve. A passionate letter, written just before On the Road was published and while Kerouac still had the innocence and charm of a struggling writer, unencumbered by the celebrity that dogged him in later years. Much of the letter is personal, professing his love and desire to reunite with his girlfriend -- in writing that has the rhythm and lyricism of his novels, as well as the free flowing associations and lofty allusions: "I will lead schools, be exiled, scoffed at, I prophesy it, and I will lead schools...But it's only the golden eternity...eternal peace...and we're just passing through..." A portion of the letter refers to the business of writing in which he is engaged: "I have another week here, of mad typing and working on FOUR different manuscripts, that'll make us rich...Then I take the West Coast champion train, if my agent comes through with the return fare, and be right back, to your door, on Tuesday the 8th...If I dont get drunk and flub up..." Signed, "Jean (qui t'aime XXXXX)." Previously folded in sixths for mailing and splitting at the corner folds; paper acidifying; else near fine. With typed mailing envelope, postmarked Orlando, Florida. A remarkable letter, with Kerouac's characteristic, and unmistakable, prose.
Inscribed Association Copy
38. KEROUAC, Jack. Doctor Sax. NY: Grove (1959). A novel by the author of On the Road that is part of his ongoing Duluoz saga, a multi-volume, semi-autobiographical account of the author's life and times, and those of his family and friends. Most of Kerouac's friends, family and acquaintances appear in his novels, thinly disguised: he had intended to write the sequence as autobiography -- or at least as a self-invented genre that stuck strictly to the "truth," albeit with the free-flowing rhythm and style of his inventive, spontaneous prose -- but was persuaded early on that the legal and logistical difficulties of such an approach were insurmountable. As such he followed through on the plan, simply changing the names of the various characters he chronicled. This is a copy of the softcover issue of the book; there was a small simultaneous hardcover edition published as well. This copy is inscribed by the author to Jeff Cru, the nephew of Henri Cru, one of Kerouac's early close friends: "Dear Jeff/ This is the final/ Baroque version/ of the Faust/ Legend, mixed with/ some New England/ Gothicism/ Jack Kerouac." Kerouac met Henri Cru at Horace Mann, the prep school they both attended in Riverdale, New York. Cru later introduced Kerouac to Edie Parker, who became Kerouac's first wife. On the Road contains an account of Cru ("Remi Boncoeur") getting Kerouac a job in San Francisco as a security guard. It was during this period in San Francisco that Kerouac wrote to Neal Cassady, and got the idea that the two of them should take a trip cross-country together, and he would write a book about it -- the book that became On the Road. Cru also appears in several of Kerouac's other novels as "Deni Bleu." A wonderful inscription and an excellent association copy. Wrappers lightly scratched and rubbed on hinges; still very good.
Rare Stephen King Philtrum Press Item, with Ephemera
39. KING, Stephen. The New Lieutenant's Rap. (n.p.): Philtrum Press, 1999. A limited edition created by King for a party to mark the 25th anniversary of his career as a published writer, and given out to the attendees of the party. One of "no more than 500" numbered copies signed by the author, and probably a lot scarcer than that: there were reportedly 100 couples at the party, and copies of this item surface so infrequently that we can only conclude that, first, the attendees have generally held onto their copies and, second, that other copies of it have not been distributed (if, indeed, they have even been created). A "stopper" for many King collections. The story later appeared in altered form in Hearts from Atlantis. Here the pages reproduce King's handwriting and are bound in saddle-stitched wrappers with a peace sign on the cover. Fine in original envelope. Together with a peace sign on chain, given out as a party favor. Fine in gift box with bow laid in. Also together with King's novel The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon [(NY): Scribner (1999)] signed by the author, which is fine in a fine dust jacket and was also given to attendees of the party, and "The Stand," the official authorized Stephen King trivia quiz, as compiled by Stanley Wiater, one of the attendees. Four pages, 25 questions. This copy of the quiz has been completed, with a score of 18 correct. Stapled in one corner; fine. For the group:
Stephen King's First Book Appearance, Signed
40. (KING, Stephen). Moth. (Orono): (Blanket Conspiracy) (1970). An off-campus publication done while King was still a student at the University of Maine in Orono. King contributes three poems, "The Dark Man," "Donovan's Brain" and "Silence." Signed by King at his contribution. Tabitha Spruce -- later Tabitha King -- also contributes six poems. We know of no earlier Stephen King appearance in print. Owner name stamp on title page; bookplate of a well-known horror writer inside front cover. Near fine in wrappers. Very scarce, especially signed.
41. KOSINSKI, Jerzy. Being There. NY: HBJ (1970). The third book by the author of The Painted Bird and the National Book Award-winning Steps. With an autograph note signed by the author to film critic Pauline Kael laid in. This title was adapted for the screen by Kosinski and filmed by Hal Ashby, with Peter Sellers and Shirley Maclaine. Sellers was nominated for an Academy Award for his role, and Melvyn Douglas won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Kosinski won a British Academy Award for Best Screenplay for the film. Fine in a near fine dust jacket. A nice association copy.
Early, Important Letter about The Spy Who Came In From the Cold