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Catalog 110, N-P

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303.NABOKOV, Vladimir. Laughter in the Dark. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill (1938). His first book published in the U.S., and the first edition of his own English-language version of this novel, which was published as Camera Obscura in England two years earlier in a translation by Winifred Roy. This is the first issue, in green cloth. A little sunning to the top edge of the front cover, otherwise fine in a very good jacket with light edge chipping and rubbing.

304.NIN, Anaïs. House of Incest. Paris: Siana Editions (1936). One of 249 numbered copies of the first edition of Nin's second book, first novel, signed by the author. A surreal novel loosely based on Nin's ménage à trois with Henry and June Miller and her incestuous relationship with her father. Jack Kahane, publisher of the Obelisk Press -- which had published Miller's Tropic of Cancer two years earlier -- turned down the book, and Nin set up her own imprint, Siana Editions (Anais backward), with the help of Miller, Michael Fraenkel and Alfred Perlès. Although the limitation page indicates 249 copies signed by the author, years after publication Nin sold the last hundred copies, unsigned, to American underground publisher Sam Abramson, meaning that fewer than 150 copies of this edition were numbered and signed by Nin. Additionally, this copy is inscribed by the author to the Surrealist painters, Yves Tanguy and Kay Sage, with a lengthy excerpt from her then-unpublished, but already famous, diary: "For Kay and Yves/ 'The fear of madness will burn down/ the walls of our secret house and/ send us out into the world seeking/ warm contact.'/ From the diary: In one of Kay's paintings I saw/ the spiral which leads us into/ space, in Yves a desert full of/ small, naked and tender objects./ In both one can breathe one's/ self out of this world in which/ one cannot breathe. Both are/ transparent. There are the bones/ of the already lived in Yves -- / but not death./ In life I see them laughing.../ I love them/ Anaïs." For three decades, Tanguy was among the most prominent of the Surrealist painters; he exhibited in Paris with Klee, Miró and Arp in 1929; later, in New York, his paintings were exhibited with Man Ray's photographs and still later, they were shown with Dali and Magritte. When he died in 1955, the Museum of Modern Art conducted a retrospective of his work. Kay Sage was also a Surrealist painter whose works were highly regarded (not just by Nin). Tanguy and Sage met in Paris in the late Thirties, presumably at the time this book was inscribed, and they later moved to the U.S. Some light sunning to the spine and edges; a near fine copy with fragments of the original glassine dustwrapper intact. Probably the nicest copy of this large, fragile book we have ever seen, and certainly the best association copy of it we have seen.

305.NIN, Anaïs. Preface to Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. (NY): Lawrence Maxwell, 1947. The first separate appearance of this piece, which had been unavailable in the U.S., both because the Obelisk Press editions in which the preface appeared were banned from the U.S. and because the Medvsa piracy, printed in the U.S., omitted the preface. Faint hint of a vertical crease to cover; else fine in stapled wrappers, with tipped-in photographic frontispiece.

306.O'BRIEN, Tim The Things They Carried. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990. A collection of related stories that share a number of characters as well as the narrator -- a "Tim O'Brien" whose experience bears certain similarities to the author's own, as well as a number of differences. Selected as one of the best books of the year in all categories by the editors of The New York Times Book Review; winner of the Heartland Award among others, including a National Magazine Award for the title chapter. Not quite a novel in the usual sense but more tightly structured than the usual collection of stories, it is a meditation on war and death, and on the place that storytelling has in bringing these unfathomable experiences within our grasp. Signed by the author. By consensus one of the best works of fiction of the Vietnam war -- a book that has become a standard work on college campuses in any survey of the literature of the war. Fine in a fine, second issue dust jacket.

307.O'BRIEN, Tim. Tomcat in Love. Franklin Center: Franklin Library, 1998. The leatherbound limited edition, with an introduction written especially for this edition that keeps us from calling the book a departure: "Though I am known as a 'Vietnam writer' -- whatever that may be -- I have always pegged myself more as a 'love writer,' and in that regard Tomcat in Love is no departure at all." Fine, without dust jacket, as issued. Signed by the author.

308.O'CONNOR, Robert. Buffalo Soldiers. NY: Knopf, 1993. One of the most highly praised first novels of the year, a black comedy of the peacetime army that was compared to Catch-22 and "Sergeant Bilko on scag." O'Connor was chosen, on the strength of this volume, as one of the "Granta 20" best young American novelists. Fine in a fine dust jacket.

309.OE, Kenzaburo. Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness. NY: Grove Press (1977)[1994]. A collection of four novellas by the Japanese Nobel Prize winner. Apparently a reissue, in 1994, using sheets of the first edition from 1977; the publication information indicates this is the first edition, first printing, 1977, but the softcover binding has a 1994 date as well as a sticker announcing Oe's winning the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature. So, presumably, a second issue -- seventeen years after its original publication. A fine copy, signed by the author.

310.OE, Kenzaburo. Japan, the Ambiguous, and Myself. NY: Kodansha International, 1995. His Nobel Prize speech and other lectures. Signed by the author on the title page in both Japanese and English characters. Fine in a fine dust jacket.

311.OE, Kenzaburo. Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids. London/NY: Marion Boyars (1995). The first English language edition of his first novel, originally published in 1958, when the author was 23 years old. Signed by the author on the title page in both Japanese and English characters. Fine in a fine dust jacket.

312.OLSEN, Tillie. Tell Me a Riddle. (NY): Delta/(Dell) (1961). The third printing of the wrappered reissue of the author's first book, a highly praised collection of stories that later came to be one of the key works in the renaissance of women's writing that accompanied the feminist movement in the late 1960's and 1970's. Warmly inscribed by the author to Annie Dillard in 1974: "In kinship -- and in love for/ your work." With Olsen's signature and address label, and Dillard's ownership signature, beneath which she has added "please return." A rubbed, read, very good copy with a small chip at the lower spine. A wonderful literary association.

313.OLSON, Charles. The Maximus Poems. NY: Jargon/Corinth Books, 1960. The limited edition of the first combined edition of these poems, originally published in 1953 and 1956 in a pair of oversize limited editions. One of the most important achievements of American poetry in the postwar era, on a par with Pound's Cantos and Williams' Paterson. Olson was influential on an entire generation of poets by virtue of his presence at Black Mountain College in the Fifties, and The Maximus Poems are his major poetic work. One of 26 lettered copies signed by the author. Covers sunned; near fine, without dust jacket, as issued.

314.-. Same title. Also the limited edition, this being one of 75 numbered copies; the total hardcover printing consisted of these 101 copies. This copy is inscribed by the author in 1965. Fine, without dust jacket, as issued.

315.ORWELL, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. NY: Harcourt Brace (1949). The advance reading copy of the first American edition of his classic dystopia, a chilling extrapolation of the political tendencies in postwar Great Britain and one of the most influential works of the century -- whose very title became a synonym for an oppressive police state, and which introduced to the language and the political vernacular such words and phrases (and thereby ideas) as "thought police," "newspeak," "doublethink," and "Big Brother." One of Pringle's hundred best science fiction novels, a Burgess 99 and Connolly 100 title, and also chosen as one of the novels of the century by the Modern Library, Radcliffe, Waterstones and the New York Public Library. The British edition precedes the American by 5 days, as might be expected, but Orwell's U.S. publisher attempted to promote the book with these advance copies and was evidently successful: the book went through six printings by June, 1950 (one year after publication) and was also a Book of the Month Club selection, which sold nearly 200,000 copies. BOMC and Harcourt Brace had attempted to get Orwell to cut out nearly a quarter of the book for the American edition but he refused and they published it as he wrote it. He finished revisions for it in a hospital bed where he was suffering from tuberculosis, and he died barely seven months after it was published, at the age of 46. Spine tanned; horizontal abrasion to front cover and a few light stains to the wrappers; a very good copy of a fragile volume.

316.OZICK, Cynthia. The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories. NY: Knopf, 1971. A review copy (used for review - slip not present) of her second book, first collection of stories. Several notations in the text and the reviewer's address label and draft review on the front flyleaf, where he has also written the book's scheduled publication date. A fine copy in a very good, edge-sunned dust jacket with one small edge tear.

317.PAZ, Octavio. Sunstone/Piedra de Sol. (NY): New Directions (1991). A bilingual edition of his collected poems, 1957-1987, translated by Eliot Weinberger. Paz, Mexico's preeminent man of letters, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990. Fine in a fine dust jacket.

318.-. Same title, the simultaneous issue in wrappers. Signed by the author. Fine.

319.PAZ, Octavio. The Other Voice. San Diego: Harvest/HBJ (1992). The first Harvest edition of this collection of seven essays on modern poetry, originally published in the U.S. a year earlier. Signed by the author. Fine in self-wrappers.

320.PERCY, Walker. Autograph Letters Signed. 1980. Three letters from Percy to Tom Graves, in response to Graves' solicitation of an interview with Percy for The Paris Review. Also included are retained copies of Graves' four letters to Percy; retained copies of two letters from Graves to The Paris Review; and a photocopy of a letter from Percy to George Plimpton (of The Paris Review). The sequence unfolds from April to December of 1980, beginning with an innocent request from Graves to Percy, who, receiving no response, proposes in June that either George Plimpton or Fayette Hickox contact Percy directly. In July, Percy responds to Plimpton (in photocopy here) saying that when he hears from Graves he will consider it, despite "a certain disinclination." This response is forwarded to Graves in August, but not before Percy writes to Graves directly explaining that he does not like to do interviews but will keep his letter before him and, "if the spirit moves," call him. Percy adds, "Of course you may very well tell me to shove it." In a letter dated 12 days later, Graves, encouraged by Percy's response to Plimpton, again writes to Percy requesting an interview date, explaining the time involved would be no more than four hours of one day with another session the next day. Percy again responds to Graves, in part: "I can't stand interviews and only do them under extreme duress (like being threatened by my publisher.)" In September, Graves appeals to Hickox and Plimpton for advice and, in October, solicits Percy again, forcing Percy to decline a third time: "...I still can't imagine why I would want to spend several hours talking for print when I can write for print for money." In December, Graves sends a last ditch "keep the idea under consideration" letter, for which we have no response. The letters from Percy are folded for mailing, else fine, and signed by the author; mailing envelopes included. For all:

321.PHILLIPS, Jayne Anne. Black Tickets. (London): Allen Lane (1980). The first British edition of her first collection of short stories. Signed by the author. Fine in a fine, price-clipped dust jacket.

322.PLATH, Sylvia. Artwork. [1942]. A pencil drawing, filled in with colored pencils, of a holy man beneath a tree communing with birds. 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", docketed on verso by Aurelia Plath: "By Sylvia 1942 (Spring)." Aurelia identified the figure as that of St. Francis, although to this viewer the subject has a more Oriental cast than one would expect for the Christian saint. Plath was not yet 10 years old when she drew this. Faint foxing; near fine.

323.PLATH, Sylvia. Artwork. Undated. A painting, in black and gray, of a young girl seated, back-to, on the edge of a chair contemplating a blank sheet of paper on the desk before her. Partial rendering. On a tan-peach sheet of paper. 12" x 18", folded once; a few inconsequential edge tears and paint spots; near fine. From the Estate of Sylvia Plath and identified as her work by her mother and brother. Probably dating from the late 1940s.

324.PLATH, Sylvia. Birthday Card Signed. Undated. A birthday card with a zodiac theme and the printed sentiment "I can see by the stars it's your birthday!" The envelope is addressed by Plath: "Happy Day/to Mother," and the card is signed by Plath: "With love & birthday/ wishes, a nosegay/ of them -/ Sivvy & Ted." 9" x 4 1/4". Near fine. Plath autograph material is scarce.

325.PLATH, Sylvia. Christmas Card Signed. [1959]. A bell shaped card, 3 1/4" x 3 3/4", written in Plath's hand: "To Mother/ with love/ & Merry Christmas/ Greetings -/ (ps - exchangeable/ on return with/ box & slip in envelope -/ tried for another color!)/ XXX/ Sivvy & Ted." Docketed after text "1959" by Aurelia Plath. Fine.

326.PLATH, Sylvia. Christmas Card Signed. [1961]. A 3 1/4" x 3 1/4" card hand-addressed on the envelope to "Mr. & Mrs. Robert Magowan/ Ingersoll Road/ Wellesley, Mass./ USA." The card is printed with a Christmas and New Year's greeting and is signed by Plath: "from/ Sylvia, Ted & Frieda Hughes/ */ Court Green/ North Tawton/ Devonshire, England." Fine. Docketed "Xmas 1961" on the envelope, which is chipped.

327.POWELL, Dawn. Turn, Magic Wheel. NY: Farrar & Rinehart (1936). By consensus the best novel on New York's bohemian life by this satirical, proto-feminist novelist who has recently been rediscovered. Gore Vidal, whose critical essay helped restore her fame, called her a better satirist than Twain and said she was "our best comic novelist," and Ernest Hemingway once told her she was his "favorite living novelist" -- although she was not averse to poking at Hemingway himself, which she did in her novel, The Wicked Pavilion. Novelist Lisa Zeidner, in a review of the recent biography of Powell in The New York Times Book Review, said that "she is wittier than Dorothy Parker, dissects the rich better than F. Scott Fitzgerald, is more plaintive than Willa Cather in her evocation of the heartland and has a more supple control of satirical voice than Evelyn Waugh, the writer to whom she's most often compared." Powell was an archetypal free spirit, living much of her life in Greenwich Village, taking -- and flaunting -- lovers frequently although she was married, and mercilessly skewering the postures and foibles of an array of New York types, from the bohemian artists to the wealthy tycoons. A touch of fading to top stain, a touch of offsetting to endpages; still a fine copy in a very good dust jacket with light rubbing and dust soiling (to rear panel) and light chipping along the top edges. A scarce book, especially in dust jacket.

328.POWERS, Richard. Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (1988). The first British edition of one of the most highly praised first novels of recent years -- a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters for a book of "considerable literary achievement." Fine in a fine dust jacket.

329.POWERS, Richard. Prisoner's Dilemma. NY: Morrow (1988). A review copy of the second novel by the author of Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance, The Gold Bug Variations and Galatea 2.2, among others. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with review slip and publisher's promotional sheet laid in.

330.PRICE, Reynolds. The Names and Faces of Heroes. NY: Atheneum, 1963. The author's second book, a collection of stories and, according to some, his scarcest title. A fine copy in a fine dust jacket with minimal fading to the spine.

331.PRITCHETT, V.S. A Careless Widow. NY: Random House (1989). A collection of short stories by one of the finest story writers, critics and essayists of his generation. This is the dedication copy of the first American edition, inscribed by Pritchett: "For my darling Dorothy/ from VSP," and additionally signed in full. The book's dedication reads "For my wife." The book bears Pritchett's bookplate on the front pastedown. Dampstaining to spine; near fine in a very good dust jacket, heavily dampstained on verso but outwardly exhibiting only a bit of spine fading. Oddly, the book is also inscribed by Pritchett to photographer Sally Soames "with admiration" in 1993, although this inscription has been crossed out. Soames published a book of photographs of writers in 1995.

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