Catalog 150, A-D

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1. AUSTER, Paul. Wall Writing. (Berkeley): The Figures (1976). The lettered limited edition of his second book, a collection of poetry published in an edition of 526 copies, this being one of 26 lettered copies signed by the author. Fine in wrappers. Very uncommon issue of this early book by Auster. Drenttel A2.

2. AUSTER, Paul. Fragments from Cold. (Brewster): Parenthèse (1977). The limited edition of this title, which had a total printing of 750 copies; this is one of only 20 numbered copies signed by the author and the illustrator. Fine in stapled wrappers and dust jacket. One of the smallest limitations of an Auster work, and extremely scarce these days.

3. AUSTER, Paul. City of Glass, Ghosts and The Locked Room. Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1985 and 1986. One of 26 lettered copies signed by the author of the three volumes of his acclaimed New York Trilogy. City of Glass was nominated for an Edgar Award, given each year by the Mystery Writers of America for the best (mystery) novel of the year. Prior to City of Glass, Auster had been known as a poet, translator and essayist, but his fiction was little-known and generally considered to be of the post-modern, meta-fiction variety. Ironically, his Edgar nomination -- and his deliberate use of the conventions of the mystery genre as a frame on which to hang a metaphysical and meta-fictional exposition -- served as a breakthrough for him to a much wider audience, after years of being published by small presses (his own included). He has since become well-known, and acclaimed, for his fiction and for his screenplays. In addition to all the volumes being signed on the colophon, Volume 1, City of Glass, is inscribed by the author on the title page. Each volume bears a different letter on the colophon; each volume is fine in a fine dust jacket, with a price sticker on the rear cover of Ghosts. For the set:

4. AUSTER, Paul. Autobiography of the Eye. (Portland): (Beaverdam Press) (1993). A poem by Auster, attractively printed and bound in saddle-stitched wrappers by Portland, Oregon, bookseller Charles Seluzicki's fine press, with a tipped-in photographic frontispiece. One of only 35 copies, of which half were reportedly reserved for the contributors, according to the bibliographer. Fine in original envelope. Drenttel A23.

5. BALDWIN, James. Go Tell It on the Mountain. NY: Knopf, 1953. The author's first book, an autobiographical novel based on his teenage years as a revivalist preacher in Harlem. Fine in a fine and bright dust jacket, housed in a cloth chemise and slipcase, with leather spine label. An African-American highspot that is particularly susceptible to wear; this is an immaculate copy.

6. BARTH, John. The Sot Weed Factor. Garden City: Doubleday, 1960. Barth's massive third novel, which secured his reputation as one of the leading experimental writers of his generation, and helped set the standard for the postmodern fiction that dominated the 1960s. Signed by the author. Slight foxing to top edge and slighter splaying to boards; a very near fine copy in a very near fine dust jacket by Edward Gorey, and signed by Gorey on the rear flap. A very nice copy of a bulky book, seldom found in this condition; this is the nicest copy we have seen in years, and probably as nice as it gets at this point.

7. BAXTER, Charles. The South Dakota Guidebook. (NY): New Rivers Press, 1974. The scarce hardcover issue of his second book, a collection of poetry. The total edition was 600 copies, of which 200 were cloth and 400 were issued in wrappers. Well-known these days as a writer of fiction, Baxter's first novel wasn't published until 1987, seventeen years after his first book and thirteen years after this title. Inscribed by the author in 1982. Fine in a slightly rubbed, else fine dust jacket.

8. BELLOW, Saul. The Victim. NY: Vanguard Press (1947). A review copy of his second book, an early masterpiece which explores the symbiotic underpinnings of racism. Burgess 99. Review slip and author photo laid in. Small and light pencil signature of reviewer Milton Merlin on the front fly and slight offsetting from review material, else fine in a fine dust jacket. A lovely copy of a book usually found well-worn, and seldom found in any sort of advance, prepublication state.

9. BELLOW, Saul. Seize the Day. NY: Viking, 1956. The author's increasingly uncommon fourth book, in incomparable condition. Fine in a fine dust jacket. A remarkably difficult title to find in fine condition: the pale yellow dust jacket fades easily and is unlaminated, meaning it is subject to nicking and fraying at the slightest provocation. A beautiful copy.

10. BOWLES, Paul. The Sheltering Sky. London: John Lehmann, 1949. His first and best known book, in which a disaffected American couple meets the harsh reality of the Moroccan desert, with less than happy results. One of the seminal novels of the Beat and counterculture era: Bowles's accounts of experimenting with north African hashish and kif became the keystones of a new attitude toward recreational drug use during those years. Filmed in 1990 by Bernardo Bertolucci with Debra Winger, John Malkovich, and the author in a small role, in a not completely successful adaptation of the book. The first printing was only 4000 copies: Bowles had only published one chapbook prior to this novel, consisting of two poems, and issued 16 years earlier, in 1933. Time magazine included it on its list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923-2005. Fine in a fine, first issue dust jacket, with the white portion around the publisher's name completely unblemished, and the spine completely unfaded. The nicest copy we've seen.

11. BURROUGHS, William S. The Naked Lunch, The Soft Machine, The Ticket That Exploded. Paris: Olympia Press (1959, 1961, 1962). Three volumes: the books that defined Burroughs' accomplishment as one of the key writers of the Beat generation; Naked Lunch is considered one of the three key texts of that movement, along with Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Jack Kerouac's On The Road. The other two volumes in the Olympia trilogy are examples of the cut-up technique used by Burroughs during this era, which challenged the assumptions behind traditional literature and writing. They are, in effect, excerpts from his ongoing one great work at that time, which he called his Word Horde. The Ticket That Exploded is inscribed by the author. Fine in wrappers and dust jackets. A beautiful set, housed in a cloth chemise and full morocco slipcase by R. Patron.

12. BURROUGHS, William. Naked Lunch. (NY): Grove Press (1959)[c. 1962]. The first American edition of this classic novel of the Beat generation, which was not published in the U.S. until three years after its Paris publication, and until a legal challenge to its banning was successful. Such authors as Norman Mailer testified as to the literary value and accomplishment of Burroughs' work. Basis for the 1991 David Cronenberg film featuring Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, and Roy Scheider. Fine with the topstain bright, in a fine, unrubbed dust jacket. A superb copy, and seldom found this way.

13. CAIN, James M. The Postman Always Rings Twice. NY: Knopf, 1934. Cain's first novel, and a milestone of hardboiled literature that was the basis for the classic 1946 film featuring Lana Turner and John Garfield (as well as at least three other versions). A Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone. Fine in a fine dust jacket, with topstain impossibly bright; essentially a flawless, perfect copy. While it is pretty much an unalterable rule that somewhere in the world there will always be a better copy, this copy breaks the rule.

14. CAIN, James M. Serenade. NY: Knopf, 1937. Cain's second novel, another hardboiled classic. Fine in a beautiful, fine dust jacket. A spectacular copy.

15. CAIN, James M. Mildred Pierce. NY: Knopf, 1941. His third novel, a noir-ish tale that became the basis for the excellent Michael Curtiz film with Oscar-winner Joan Crawford in the title role as the hard-working mother of an ambitious harlot, also with Eve Arden and Ann Blyth (both of whom were nominated as Best Supporting Actresses), Zachary Scott, and Butterfly McQueen. Fine in a fine dust jacket. An incomparable copy.

16. CAIN, James M. The Moth. NY: Knopf, 1948. Fine in a fine and bright, price-clipped dust jacket. A relatively common book in uncommon condition.

17. CALDWELL, Erskine. Tobacco Road. NY: Scribner's, 1932. A classic Southern novel of the Great Depression, which became a hugely successful Broadway play, running for an astonishing eight years, throughout the entire duration of the Depression and beyond. It was Caldwell's first full-length novel; he went on to a writing career that lasted more than 50 years. Nunnally Johnson scripted (and sanitized) the unusual, serio-comic 1941 John Ford film in which Charley Grapewin reprised his stage role as cheerful, ne'er-do-well Jeeter Lester. Also with Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews and others. Tiny spot of foxing on a blank leaf, still easily fine in a fine dust jacket with very slight toning on the spine, with no restoration. A lovely copy. The fact that this collection has a less than perfect copy is an indication of how difficult this title is to find in fine condition.

18. CALDWELL, Erskine. God's Little Acre. NY: Viking, 1933. His second full-length novel, which was censored in New York and led to the author's arrest and prosecution on obscenity charges. Fine in a very near fine dust jacket, with a tiny chip at the top of the front spine fold and a tiny tear at the bottom of the front panel. A beautiful copy, doubtless one of the finest, if not the finest copy extant.

19. CAPOTE, Truman. Other Voices, Other Rooms. NY: Random House (1948). Capote's first book, a collection of stories that put the author on the literary map at the age of 22. Fine in a fine dust jacket with the white spine-lettering completely white. Signed by the author. A beautiful, fresh and bright copy of his first book.

20. CAPOTE, Truman. Breakfast at Tiffany's. NY: Random House (1958). Perhaps his most famous novel, due to the classic 1961 film, which won two Oscars and for which Audrey Hepburn was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Holly Golightly, an iconic role and the most memorable in a long and distinguished career. Fine in a fine dust jacket with a couple of tiny nicks along the bottom edge of the front panel. Completely unfaded on the spine, and rare thus. One of the nicest copies we've seen.

21. CARVER, Raymond. Near Klamath. (Sacramento): (English Club of Sacramento State College) (1968). Carver's first collection of poems and his first regularly published book: he had two offprints of individual poems printed previously. An unknown number of copies were printed, generally thought to be between 100 and 200, with the lower number more likely than the higher. Most copies had disappeared long before Carver began to gain a literary reputation in the late 1970s. Signed by the author. Small faint cup ring on the front cover, otherwise fine in wrappers. One of the scarcest first books of the latter half of the 20th century: despite Carver's universally recognized importance, only one copy of Near Klamath has ever appeared at auction, and that was 15 years ago.

22. CARVER, Raymond. Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? NY: McGraw-Hill, 1976. Carver's breakthrough book of short stories, his first book published by a major publisher and one of the most influential books in the renaissance of the short story form in the 1970s and beyond. Carver's stories were compared to those of Hemingway and Flannery O'Connor. Signed by the author. Fine in a fine dust jacket. Probably the nicest copy we have ever seen.

23. -. Same title. The uncorrected proof copy. Laid into this proof is a slip of paper that has been signed on both sides by Carver as well as an autograph note signed, apparently to his typist or editor, requesting certain corrections be made to several pages of an unidentified work (not, apparently, this proof). Publisher's information slip pasted to front cover and again to title page; fine in wrappers. Housed in an attractive custom quarter leather clamshell box.

24. CARVER, Raymond. Glimpses. Northampton: Basement Press, 1985. Of a total edition of 15 numbered copies, this is copy number 15, and is signed by Catheryn Yum, the book's designer and printer. This copy belonged to Yum, and laid into it are several pieces of ephemera pertaining to the production of the volume: most notable among these is the original autograph letter from Yum to Carver's publisher, requesting permission to reprint two stories for a project for her typography class. Interestingly, she wrote to McGraw-Hill, publisher of Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, for permission to use two stories that she did not end up using. At the bottom of the sheet, Carver has written his personal reply to her, which reads, in part: "You have my permission, and gladly, for you to use the above mentioned stories in the manner in which you describe." Yum has appended a note on the same sheet indicating that this was the only response that Carver wrote himself; the permission to use the stories she actually ended up using, which came from a book published by Knopf, came in the form of "your basic form letter from a secretary." A separate sheet details, in Yum's hand, the total extent of the edition, the number of print runs and the type of media and hardware used. Lastly, she has laid in a photocopy of a two-page letter she wrote Carver after the book was finished (apparently enclosing a copy for him). A fine copy of one of the scarcest of Carver's items, together with his letter of permission to the publisher and her details of the book's production. Unique.

25. CARY, Joyce. The Horse's Mouth. London: Michael Joseph (1944). Cary's most famous book, the third volume of his "First Trilogy." Signed by the author on the title page and inscribed by him on the front fly: "With the Author's best wishes Oct. 55." Basis for the 1958 Ronald Neame-directed film featuring Alec Guinness and Kay Walsh, for which Guinness wrote the screenplay and was nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA for his work. Fine in a fine dust jacket. An absolutely beautiful copy of this fragile wartime volume, by far the author's best-known work.

26. CONROY, Pat. The Boo. Verona, Virginia: McClure Press (1970). The first book by the author of The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline and Prince of Tides, among others. Signed by the author and dated by him in the year of publication, as well as signed by the subject of the book, Lt. Colonel T.N. Courvoisie, i.e. "The Boo." Fine in a bright and fine dust jacket, with a "Boo's Immortals" card laid in. A beautiful copy of his uncommon first book, a tribute to a beloved Commandant of Cadets at his alma mater, The Citadel, in Charleston. Because it was printed and distributed outside of normal publishing channels, The Boo has become one of the scarcest first books of the last several decades.

27. CONROY, Pat. The Great Santini. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976. Signed by the author. His splendid first novel, basis for the excellent film with Robert Duvall in the title role. Fine in a fine dust jacket. An increasingly scarce first edition.

28. -. Same title, the limited advance edition. One of reportedly 35 copies of the uncorrected proof, and proof jacket, bound in leather. This copy is signed by Conroy. A bit of handling to covers, still very close to fine. The text of the front jacket flap was changed between this version and the published version: "...his daughters to provide their husbands (Marines, naturally) with a good lay" was changed to "with a good home." An unusual and uncommon edition, and especially scarce signed.

29. DOCTOROW, E.L. Welcome to Hard Times. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1960. The first book by the author of Ragtime, among many others, who has won every major literary award in this country and whose multi-volume fictionalized history of New York City is one of the most ambitious and successful ongoing literary achievements of our time. Signed by the author. Pages darkening with age, as usual -- according to a note from Doctorow dating from the mid-Sixties, copies of this book were already showing their age through the browning of the paper; otherwise a fine copy in a near fine dust jacket with a small edge tear at the front spine fold. Probably the nicest copy we've seen of this cheaply made book.

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