Catalog 154, P
162. PLATH, Sylvia. Self-Portrait. A 19" x 25" self-portrait by Plath, executed in pastels. Undated, but probably from the late 1940s, based on her hair style, comparison with photographs from the period, etc. The portrait was presumably done from a photograph, as the subject is looking away from the artist. Plath is known to have done at least one other self-portrait on this scale, now located in the collection of the Lilly Library at Indiana University. Plath's mastery of the craft of portraiture is limited: her anatomy is far from perfect, but her intent to capture the essence of her subject is boldly realized not only in the outer depiction of her hairstyle and nondescript clothing, but more importantly in the intensity of the gaze captured by the artist. Plath's portrait would be remarkable if it contained only her eyes, which look askance with a combination of intensity and vulnerability that seems to perfectly embody the artist herself. We have never seen such an artwork by this author offered on the market, all of Plath's significant works having been long institutionalized. Once creased near the lower edge, apparently to display the image without showing the hands; small red stamp lower left corner; else fine. Matted and framed to 23 1/4" x 30". A stunning view of the literary artist as revealed by herself as a visual artist. NOTE: Frieda Hughes and Warren Plath have said they believe the subject of this portrait to be Arden Tapley, a friend of Sylvia's in high school. We have not been able to verify this, and the portrait came directly from Plath's mother Aurelia to the collector from whom we bought it via the bookseller who handled the sale of Plath's papers, and was identified by these sources as a self-portrait. Since this information seems to have originated with Aurelia, who kept close track of Sylvia's work, we are reluctant to dispute it.
163. PLIMPTON, George. Pet Peeves. NY: Atlantic Monthly (2000). An epistolary mystery about a missing pet problem advice columnist. Illustrated by Edward Koren. Inscribed by Plimpton to another writer and his wife: "For the _____ / very best to you both/ George." A good literary association. Fine in a fine dust jacket.
164. POUND, Ezra. Guide to Kulcher. (Norfolk): New Directions (1952). A review copy of this edition, which includes the material from an edition first published in 1938, along with about 20 pages of new material. Corners bumped; near fine in a near fine, lightly rubbed dust jacket. With review slip laid in, giving publication date (August 29), price, and asking for a copy of the review or for the book to be returned if it is not reviewed. A nice copy.
165. PURDY, James. 63: Dream Palace. NY: William-Frederick Press, 1956. His second book, a novella. Inscribed by the author to legendary New York bookseller Roger Richards, a nice association. Richards ran the Rare Book Room at Brentano's for a time and then had his own shop, Greenwich Books, which became a noted hangout for a number of the writers of the Beat generation, who would bring him books or manuscripts at a time when most of them were living hand-to-mouth. The store became something of an institution for a generation. One letter rubbed from Purdy's name on the spine; else fine in wrappers.
166. PYNCHON, Thomas. The Crying of Lot 49. Philadelphia: Lippincott (1966). Winner of the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and the most overtly political, and paranoid, of Pynchon's novels. Chosen by David Pringle as one of the hundred best novels of Modern Fantasy. Small bookplate of Ray Roberts on the front pastedown; Roberts was Pynchon's editor from the time of his publication by Viking (Gravity's Rainbow) through Little, Brown and eventually, Henry Holt (Mason & Dixon). He died in 2009. Minimal tanning to board edges, else fine in a very near fine dust jacket with trace rubbing. A nice copy, with distinguished provenance.
167. -. Same title, the first British edition. London: Cape (1967). Small bookplate of Ray Roberts, Pynchon's editor, on the front pastedown. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with a small tear and crease at the crown.
168. PYNCHON, Thomas. Gravity's Rainbow. NY: Viking (1973). Pynchon's landmark third novel, winner of the National Book Award as well as the William Dean Howells Medal for the best work of fiction by an American over a five-year span. Gravity's Rainbow became the benchmark for postmodern American fiction upon publication and secured its mysterious and reclusive author's place in the postwar American literary pantheon. Small hardcover first printing of 4000 copies; the balance of the first edition, 16,000 copies, was issued in softcover. Small bookplate of Pynchon's editor, Ray Roberts, on the front pastedown. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with a small creased tear to the crown.
169. -. Same title, the uncorrected proof copy of the British edition. London: Cape (1973). Not noted in Mead. Small bookplate of Ray Roberts, Pynchon's editor, inside the front cover. Fine in wrappers.
170. -. Same title, the first British softcover edition. London: Cape, 1973. Issued simultaneously with the hardcover edition. Bookplate of Ray Roberts inside the front cover. Shallow corner crease; near fine in wrappers. A very nice copy, with none of the spine fading typical to this title. Quite uncommon.
171. -. Same title, a Taiwan piracy. (n.p.): (n.p.)(n.d). Bookplate of Ray Roberts on front pastedown; Tapei book store label on rear flyleaf. Offsetting to endpages; a near fine copy in a good, spine-sunned dust jacket with several edge chips and one long tear at the upper rear spine fold.
172. PYNCHON, Thomas. Slow Learner. Boston: Little Brown (1984). A collection of his early stories, with a new introduction by the author. One of only two leatherbound copies prepared by the publisher, one of which went to Pynchon; this one belonged to Pynchon's editor, Ray Roberts. Small bookplate of Ray Roberts on the pastedown, and a letterhead note card identifying the issue laid in. Fine.
173. -. Same title, an advance issue. Each of these stories was being offered for sale in unauthorized, bootleg editions at the time; this volume was Pynchon's attempt to take the bottom out of the market for piracies of his own writings. In keeping with his secretive approach, he reportedly requested that no proofs be printed of this book prior to publication; instead, a very small number of folded and gathered signatures were prepared and laid into proof dust jackets and issued as advance copies; the usual number cited for such copies is "about 10." This is one of those sets of sheets, "f&g's," laid into a trial binding and dust jacket. The mock-up of the boards is black, rather than the beige used, and has the stamp of the press inside the front board. Book plate of Ray Roberts on the first signature. A fine copy in a very good jacket, worn where it overlays the sheets. Probably a unique item: while we have handled the advance f&g's a few times, we've never seen a set laid into a trial binding.
174. -. Same title, a review copy of the first paperback edition, issued simultaneously with the hardcover edition. Bookplate of Ray Roberts. A bit of edge sunning to the rear cover; else fine in wrappers with review slip laid in.
175. -. Same title, the first British edition. London: Cape (1985). Bookplate of Ray Roberts. Fine in a fine dust jacket.
176. -. Same title. The uncorrected proof copy of the British edition. Bookplate of Ray Roberts. Rear pages edge-sunned; last blank has a corner turn; near fine in wrappers.
177. PYNCHON, Thomas. Vineland. Boston: Little Brown (1990). His first novel in 17 years, since the publication of the award-winning Gravity's Rainbow, perhaps the landmark of postwar American literature. This copy is inscribed by Pynchon to his editor, Ray Roberts: "For Ray, who saw it first but went for it anyway -- Thanks for everything. Thomas Pynchon." A nice inscription, with Pynchon's characteristic self-deprecating humor about his own writing. Pynchon's signature is among the rarest in modern literature, and meaningful inscriptions seldom appear on the market. A wonderful presentation copy of one of his novels to the book's editor, expressing his gratitude; the best Pynchon inscription we've ever handled, or seen. Roberts' bookplate on the pastedown; fine in a fine dust jacket.
178. -. Same title, an advance copy, in the form of unbound signatures and with trial bindings. Pynchon reportedly requested that there be no bound proofs prepared for this novel, making this the earliest known printed version of the book. Reportedly there were only eight sets of signatures pulled from the print run for this advance issue; as far as we know, the trial bindings are unique. Four mockups are included: gray, red, beige, and the green that was eventually used. Pages uncut; fine, laid into the green binding, which has Ray Robert's bookplate, and in a fine dust jacket.
179. -. Same title, the first British edition. London: Secker & Warburg (1990). Bookplate of Ray Roberts on front pastedown. Age-toning to pages; else fine in a fine dust jacket.
180. PYNCHON, Thomas and SMITH, Corlies M. Of a Fond Ghoul. NY: Blown Litter Press, 1990. Correspondence between Pynchon and Smith, who was Pynchon's editor when he was working on the manuscript of V., 1960-1962. One of only 50 numbered copies, the entire edition, and thus by far the scarcest of Pynchon's piracies. The letters have good content, involving the editing of the manuscript, possible titles, etc. A significant body of Pynchon writing that has never been published before or since. With the bookplate of Ray Roberts, Pynchon's later editor. Fine in stapled wrappers.
181. PYNCHON, Thomas. Mason and Dixon. NY: Henry Holt (1997). Of a total of four leatherbound copies of this title, this is one of two copies without topstain; this copy belonged to Pynchon's editor, Ray Roberts. (The second copy was given to the production manager. Of the two copies with gold topstain, one went to Roberts, the other to Pynchon.) Small bookplate of Ray Roberts on the pastedown. Fine.
182. -. Same title. The uncorrected proof copy in plain blue wrappers (not to be confused with the two variants of advance reading copy of which there were reportedly 500 each). This is the first issue proof, which leaves out the ampersand from "Mason & Dixon" on the title page. Small bookplate of Ray Roberts inside front cover. Fine.
183. -. Same title. The second issue uncorrected proof, in blue wrappers, with a tipped-in title page that adds the ampersand missing in the first issue. Small bookplate of Ray Roberts inside front cover. Fine, with two dust jackets (a bit crimped at crown where they extend past the proof) and fine printed acetate wrapper.
184. -. Same title. The third issue uncorrected proof, in blue wrappers, with a bound-in title page that includes the ampersand missing from the first issue. Small bookplate of Ray Roberts inside front cover. Fine in wrappers.
185. -. Same title, the advance reading copy, in beige wrappers. The trade edition had an announced 200,000 copy first printing; the number of copies of each of the two variant issues of the advance reading copy was rumored to be 500. The issues vary only on the rear wrapper: this is the one with the rear panel featuring publication and promotional data, which was reportedly sent to booksellers; the other was said to have been sent to reviewers, and has a brief synopsis of the book's content on the rear panel. Both issues, we were told, had minor textual variations from the published book. Bookplate of Ray Roberts. Fine in wrappers.
186. PYNCHON, Thomas. Against the Day. NY: Penguin, 2006. A review copy of this novel. Bookplate of Pynchon's editor, Ray Roberts. Fine in a fine dust jacket with a press release laid in, the text of which appears to be an early draft of the front jacket flap copy, and is attributed, on the press release, to Pynchon. Uncommon as an advance copy, and the press release could be viewed as a separate Pynchon "A" item, with variant text from its appearance on the dust jacket.
187. (PYNCHON, Thomas). Cornell Writer, Vol. V., No. 2. Ithaca: Cornell University, 1958. "Tom Pynchon" is listed as being on the editorial board; Richard Fariña contributes the undergraduate short story winner "With a Copy of Dylan Under My Arm" and two poems. Label of novelist James McConkey, faculty advisor, on the front cover; vertical crease to rear cover and final pages. Near fine in stapled wrappers. A significant publication, dating from Pynchon's years as an undergraduate at Cornell. In his introduction to a later edition of Fariña's novel Been Down So Long It Looks Up to Me, Pynchon recounts his first encounter with Fariña being when he worked on Cornell Writer as a junior editor and these pieces by Fariña came in. The two later became great friends, with Pynchon being Fariña's Best Man at his wedding to Mimi Baez. Pynchon wrote that he idolized Fariña in college, but the relationship changed after Pynchon's first novel was published and he became a mentor to Fariña, who was trying to get his first book published.
188. (PYNCHON, Thomas). FARIÑA, Richard. Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me. NY: Viking (1983). The reissue of Fariña's first and only novel, originally published in 1966. With a new introduction by Pynchon which details his and Fariña's relationship at Cornell and afterward. Issued simultaneously in paperback and hardcover, this is a hardcover copy and has the bookplate of Pynchon's editor, Ray Roberts, on the front pastedown. This edition was printed on cheap paper which is darkening with age; otherwise this is a fine copy in a near fine dust jacket with a couple small spots of rubbing and a closed tear to the rear flap fold.
189. (PYNCHON, Thomas). Thomas Pynchon. Modern Critical Views. NY: Chelsea House (1986). Essays on Pynchon's writings by a number of critics and scholars. Edited and introduced by Harold Bloom. Bookplate of Ray Roberts front pastedown. Fine in a fine dust jacket.
190. (PYNCHON, Thomas). WEISENBURGER, Steven. A Gravity's Rainbow Companion. Athens: University of Georgia Press (1988). A review copy of the simultaneous issue in wrappers; a compendium of the "sources and contexts" for Pynchon's novel. Bookplate of Ray Roberts. Near fine in wrappers, with review slip and press release laid in.
191. (PYNCHON, Thomas). SIEGEL, Jules; WEXLER, Christine; et al. Lineland. Mortality and Mercy on the Internet's Pynchon-L@Waste.Org Discussion List. Philadelphia: Intangible Assets Manufacturing (1997). Bookplate of Ray Roberts. Fine in wrappers. Together with the bound galleys of the book: 8 1/2" x 11", velobound; lower inch of binding broken, else fine with acetate cover. For both:
192. (PYNCHON, Thomas). Pynchon Notes, 1-55. Middletown/Hamilton: Kraft/Tololyan, 1979-2008. Fifty-five issues of Pynchon Notes, in 34 volumes (17 single issues; 17 double issues). The first 15 issues are fine in stapled wrappers; the remaining issues are perfectbound, also fine. Complete sets of Pynchon Notes are extremely difficult to find, or to assemble, these days.