Catalog 162, A-B
2. ACHEBE, Chinua. Typed Letter Signed. November 15, 1982. Written to three Yale University English professors, accepting an invitation to a 1984 "Commonwealth of Letters" conference in which Achebe's work was slated to receive special attention. "But even without that peculiar attraction the project sounds so rich and so far away that I should have no hesitation in accepting to be there." Signed by the author. Typed on the stationery of Okike, an African journal of new writing that Achebe edited. Notation of one of the professors that the other two had been copied; folded in thirds for mailing with a couple small edge chips; near fine.
3. ADAMS, Alice. Autograph Letter Signed and Listening to Billie. 1992. An autograph letter signed from Adams to Robert Jones, editor (later Editor-in-Chief) at HarperCollins. A full page, plus a few lines on the verso, in which Adams praises Jones's first novel, Force of Gravity -- "I found it an absolute marvel -- an astounding book, entirely wonderful" -- and references her own novel Listening to Billie: "I'm so happy that you liked --- Billie. I had such trouble with that book, fights with the editor -- etc. -- but I too have an affection for it -- ." She also suggests dates that they could meet. The letter is folded for mailing; else fine, with envelope. Together with a copy of Listening to Billie [NY: Knopf, 1978], which is near fine in a near fine, internally tape-strengthened dust jacket. Jones died in 2001 at the age of 47.
4. ADAMS, Alice. Two Autograph Cards Signed and Return Trips. 1992. Two autograph cards signed to Robert Jones, editor at HarperCollins, each dated 1992. The earlier of the two cards (June) invites Jones for a visit; the later card (November) runs three panels of the card and thanks Jones for his support -- Adams was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1992 -- adding "Any day now I'll start my new novel -- and then I'll be well." Together with a copy of Adams' story collection Return Trips [NY: Knopf, 1985]. Dusty top edge, else fine in a very near fine dust jacket with a bit of creasing at the spine base. The cards are fine, with envelopes.
5. ALBEE, Edward. Archive for The Wounding: An Essay on Education. In 1981, Albee, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Charleston in West Virginia. His speech, on his own education, or lack thereof, and on how one is forever "wounded" by the responsibilities of an education, was published in a signed wrappered limited edition of 200 copies by Mountain State Press, with an additional 50 signed hardcover copies distributed by university professor William Plumley's own Parchment Press. This archive includes:
- Albee's hand-corrected typescript of his speech, 9 pages, with "The Wounding: an Essay on Education" listed as a "possible title." Approximately a dozen small corrections in Albee's hand.
- an autograph note signed by Albee to Bill Plumley, dated July, 1981, transmitting the above, and asking Plumley to send Lolita back.
- an uncorrected photocopy of Albee's typescript, with a copy of the colophon as it is printed in the book.
- Copy No. 1 of the 50 hardcover copies of The Wounding, signed by Albee. Fine in a fine dust jacket (and with three extra copies of the jacket, folded).
- a copy of the typescript of the (unattributed) remarks used to introduce Albee at the commencement ceremony, with an envelope addressed to Dr. Plumley from "J.P." In the preceding months, Albee's Broadway play adaptation of Nabokov's Lolita had opened and closed after 12 performances (and 31 previews), and the introductory remarks attempt to diplomatically manage Albee's fall from theatrical grace.
- four periodicals from the time, each inscribed by Albee to Plumley on their covers: The New Republic (April 11, 1981); Newsweek and Time (March 30, 1981); The New Yorker (March 23, 1981). The latter announces the opening of Lolita; the first three contain reviews of the play, one of which (The New Republic) is briefly quoted in the introductory remarks to Albee's speech.
An interesting archive, which documents a noteworthy commencement speech by one of the preeminent American playwrights of the 20th century, at the time that he has just experienced perhaps the most extreme critical savaging of his career. It is perhaps not surprising that the title of the talk, and the book, is "The Wounding" and that Albee takes great pains to express the wounding -- by civilization, by education, and by our own natures -- as something to be grateful for, that distinguishes us as humans, and makes us members of the same "club." The hardcover edition is rare; the archival material is unique.
6. (Anthology). Place of the Long River. Glastonbury: Blue Moon Press, 1995. A fine press anthology of poetry and prose about the Connecticut River, with woodcuts by Jim Lee and contributions by eight writers living in the four states of the Connecticut River valley: W.D. Wetherell, Cynthia Huntington, Sydney Lea, Roger Weingarten, Gary Metras, Wally Swist, Brendan Galvin, and David Holdt. 43 pages, including one fold-out illustration, and 21 woodcuts, of which 15 are multi-color. Silk cloth binding with woodcut illustrated endpapers, showing on the front endpaper the locations of the pieces of writing and on the rear the authors' and artist's homes. One of 125 copies, of which 100 were for sale, signed by all authors and the artist. A beautiful production with eloquent writings and elegant illustrations. Fine. At the published price:
7. ATKINSON, Kate. Life After Life. London: Doubleday (2013). The uncorrected proof copy of her highly acclaimed recent novel, which became a bestseller despite employing an unconventional narrative strategy wherein the protagonist re-lives her life multiple times, changing important decisions and then following the consequences. Atkinson has received high praise for a series of literary mysteries that feature the character Jackson Brodie and are often constructed in a Rashomon-like series of parallel narratives. This time she took a step further, beyond magical realism and into a series of alternate history vignettes evolving out of a single character's life and choices. Atkinson's first book, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Prize and one of her Jackson Brodie mysteries, When Will There Be Good News?, won the Gold Dagger Award from the Crime Writers Association. This title was shortlisted for the semi-ironic "Not The Booker" prize sponsored by The Guardian. A scarce proof of a well-received book that was a surprise bestseller despite its unusual and experimental structure. Fine in wrappers.
8. BAKER, Nicholson. Room Temperature. NY: Grove Weidenfeld (1990). His second book, with a full page inscription to fellow author Charles Simmons: "For Charles Simmons/ I have just discovered Wrinkles, late, as usual, and I'm reading it with immense pleasure. It's moving, funny, big -- everything you want a novel to be. Please accept this book of mine as thanks. There are a few parallels, though the styles are different -- such as the mention of stealing coins from the narrator's mother's purse on p. 55 of your book and p. 103 of mine. I rattle on about it, but you just coolly drop the datum in. Much better! The glimpse of the future at the end of each chapter works beautifully. Your book is a permanent addition to my life." Signed, "Nicholson Baker" and dated November 16, 1990. Simmons' unique novel features 44 chapters that contain the past, present and future as seen through 44 different lenses by which to view one man's life; Baker's lens in Room Temperature is that of a new father looking back on his own life in one afternoon with his daughter. An extremely fine literary association copy between two masters of introspection. Fine in a fine dust jacket.
9. BAKER, Nicholson. U and I. (London): (Granta Books)(1991). The uncorrected proof copy of the first British edition of Baker's third book, nonfiction, a personal essay and analysis of the effect that the writings of John Updike have had on the author. A unique portrait in ideas more than a criticism of Updike, nonetheless a serious meditation on Updike's work and a self-examination of Baker's own thoughts on writing. Sticker residue to spine; corner crease to front cover; near fine in wrappers. An innovative approach to literary analysis, and an important addition to the overall canon of writings on Updike. Scarce in proof form.
10. BANKS, Russell. The Book of Jamaica. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. A novel by Banks, whose gritty realistic fiction has been compared to that of Raymond Carver, Andre Dubus and Richard Ford. Banks lived in Jamaica for a time and the experiences of his protagonist in this novel paralleled his own, ending with what he described as being stunned into self-recognition by his confrontation with what people call the 'radical other.'" Inscribed by Banks to another writer, a novelist and essayist, "with admiration." Small tear at upper front hinge; near fine in a near fine dust jacket. A nice association copy of one of Banks's earlier books.
11. BANKS, Russell. Success Stories. NY: Harper & Row (1986). A collection of stories, whose venues range from New England to Latin America to Southeast Asia. Inscribed by Banks in the year of publication to two fellow-writers "at home and in love." A nice sentiment and association. Fine in a fine dust jacket.
12. BARTHES, Roland. Images and Galleys for Camera Lucida. NY: Hill & Wang (1981). Two sets of galley sheets for Camera Lucida, the first edition in English of this influential book on photography by the French literary theorist and semiotician, which had been published in France a year earlier as La Chambre Claire. Overlapping texts, but differing in page layout (hence pagination) and taped-on corrections to typeface. One set missing two prelims; the other set missing an apparent appendix. Each approximately 7 1/2" x 24"; folded in half; near fine. Together with 20 transparencies ("film positives") of images used in the book. Each averaging about 5" x 6"; fine. Barthes was one of the most highly regarded literary theorists of the 20th century. This book, along with Susan Sontag's On Photography, helped revolutionize critical and theoretical approaches to photography and elevated the art by doing so. This was Barthes's last major book before he died, and this is a small, unique publishing archive of it.
13. BASS, Rick. The Deer Pasture. NY: Norton (1985) [c. 1996]. The uncorrected proof copy of the reissue of his first book, a collection of essays on hunting and the Texas Hill Country, where he was born and grew up. Bass now lives in Montana, and his books on the remote valleys of northwestern Montana have established him as one of our leading nature writers, whose engagement with the land is marked by a full consciousness of the political questions that surround it, as well as a deep respect for the moral and spiritual questions that are so easily overlooked in political, and even environmental, discussions. A strip of sunning to the top edge and spine; near fine in wrappers.
14. BASS, Rick. Oil Notes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989. The uncorrected proof copy of his book about oil exploration that is reminiscent of both John McPhee -- with his ability to render accessible an arcane field of endeavor -- and Barry Lopez -- with a view of the quest for oil as a metaphor for other kinds of quests and other explorations of a more intangible nature. Bass was an oil geologist before becoming a writer. This was his breakthrough book, his first to be published by a major literary publisher. Laid in is a typed note signed by the publisher, Seymour Lawrence, to Edward Hoagland, asking if Hoagland would be willing to provide promotional comments for the title. Very slight sunning to spine, else fine in wrappers.
15. BERRIGAN, Daniel. Broadside. NY: Harrisburg Defense Committee, 1972. A broadside reproducing a handwritten plea from Berrigan, in Danbury Prison, to raise funds for the Harrisburg Eight. A substantial prose poem -- approximately 600 words: Berrigan's plea invokes the highest powers, and it places the political trials of the time in the context of struggles between "the Power of Death and Decimation" against "the crime of belonging, connecting, communing...being concerned, being devoted, being alive." Dated in the text, "Feb 5, '72." 11" x 16", printed on both sides. Sunned, unevenly folded in fourths; very good. An uncommon ephemeral piece, and a Berrigan "A" item.
16. BERRIGAN, Daniel. Radical Cheek. NY: (n.p.)[c. 1972]. A broadside reproducing Berrigan's handwritten announcement of the first Radical Cheek Self-Help Evening, a benefit for Berrigan following his release from Danbury prison. Humorous and satiric: the title is a play on the phrase "radical chic," which was in vogue at that time to describe the wealthy hangers-on to the youth-oriented radical movements of the day. Berrigan offers to read his poetry, write poems on a donor's wall or ceiling ("you supply scaffolding"), and other favors to raise money -- this after explaining that he gives all his book royalty money away after his paltry expenses, and that he gave away $4800 in each of the previous two months. 11" x 17". Folded in sixths; sunned at the folds; near fine. Approximately 500 words. Again an uncommon ephemeral item.
17. BORGES, Jorge Luis and BIOY-CASARES, Adolfo. Chronicles of Bustos Domecq. NY: Dutton, 1976. The first American edition of this collection of fictional "essays" by the persona created by Borges and his longtime friend Adolfo Bioy-Casares, "Honorio Bustos Domecq." Borges and Bioy-Casares collaborated on a number of works, two of which were published under the Bustos Domecq pseudonym in the 1940s. Signed by Borges. Shallow edge sunning to boards; near fine in a near fine dust jacket with a couple of nicks to the crown.
18. BOWLES, Paul. The Sheltering Sky. London: Lehmann (1949). The first edition of Bowles's landmark first novel, about three young Westerners encountering the alien culture of North Africa, to their ultimate misfortune. One of the seminal novels of the Beat generation and an influential book in the decades since. One critic commented that Bowles was "a master of cruelty and isolation and the ironies of the search for meaning in an inadequately understood environment." Bowles wrote the novel after moving to Tangier, where he spent most of his life. His home became a destination for other Western writers and artists, and for many of them probably their first full encounter with a non-Western culture. Bowles traveled to the desert to write the book, which is fundamentally about the encounter with "the Other," and the limits of not only one's knowledge but most especially the knowledge of the extent of one's ignorance. Doubleday commissioned the book and paid Bowles an advance and then refused the manuscript when he submitted it. He had to return his advance and John Lehmann in the U.K. printed the novel in an edition of only 4000 copies; it was later published in a small edition in the U.S. by New Directions. Filmed by Bernardo Bertolucci 41 years after publication. Upper corners bumped, sunning to board edges; near fine in a near fine dust jacket with light edge wear. A nice copy of a book that shows wear readily, as many of the UK books from the early postwar years do.
19. BOWLES, Paul. Next to Nothing. Kathmandu: Starstreams, 1976. A limited edition of this 8-page, deeply existential poem. Inscribed by Bowles to his biographer, Virginia Spencer Carr, "with love," in 1994. Issued in an edition of 500 numbered copies, this is Copy #481. A beautiful production on homemade Nepalese paper, with tipped-in photographic frontispiece. In Carr's biography of Bowles [Paul Bowles: A Life], Carr recounts that, approximately two years after Jane Bowles' death, Ira Cohen solicited a long poem in the form of a dream from Paul Bowles; that Bowles countered with "one man's dream is another man's reality" and submitted Next to Nothing; that he considered this the most extraordinary-looking book of all his writings; and that, in 1994 (the year of this inscription), when Carr was staying at Bowles's house, Bowles read a discussion of Next to Nothing in the book Paul Bowles: Romantic Savage by Gena Dagel Caponi, and he voiced agreement with Caponi's assessment that: "Next to Nothing turns out to be the most eloquent and final expression of ideas that had obsessed Bowles for years...For a reader familiar with his life story, it holds great emotional power." A fine copy and a major association copy.
20. BRADBURY, Ray. Typescript Draft of "The Window." c. late 1940s. Bradbury's ten page signed typescript draft of his short story "The Window," which was first published in Collier's on August 5, 1950 and then revised again for publication as a chapter of his 1957 novel Dandelion Wine. Inscribed by Bradbury to his longtime friend and later publisher, Roy A. Squires: "For Roy - Remembering about thirteen years of memories, friendship, and various associations - with my best wishes always from Ray Bradbury." Twelve leaves; double-spaced; with one title page and one blank page for ten total pages of text. With Bradbury's annotations and emendations: multiple word changes, a running tabulation of word count, and the cutting of text to bring the count from 2179 to 1749 words (as totaled by Bradbury on the title page). The largest single cut is the opening 1 1/2 page section, in which Bradbury describes a nightmare in which a man has come to disconnect the telephone, which is the elderly protagonist's lifeline to his youth in Mexico City (a place Bradbury had visited in 1945). In the published version, the sequence is replaced by a description of the man waking abruptly and commenting "I don't like that dream." Another two dozen or so sentences were excised from this draft by Bradbury (and further changes were made between this amended draft and publication). One hole punched to pages in the upper corner; paper clip shadow at upper edge; near fine or better. Bradbury was the author of the classics Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man: his first book was a collection of stories, Dark Carnival, published in 1947. By the time of his death in 2012, he was one of the most honored American writers of all time, winning a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and lifetime or Grand Master awards from the Science Fiction Writers of America, the Horror Writers Association and the Science Fiction Poetry Association, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, a special citation from the Pulitzer Board, and the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation, to name a few. An early version of one of Bardbury's earliest stories, with a substantial amount of unpublished material still visible.
21. BRAUTIGAN, Richard. Photograph. Undated, ca. 1980. Original color photograph. Brautigan posing with two other people, musician Steven Sato and an unidentified man. Sato was part of a music group in the late 1980s and early 1990s called Watermelon Sugar, named after one of Brautigan's books, In Watermelon Sugar. The other principal in the band was a woman, Karla Bonkowski, who has continued her musical career to the present. 7" x 5". Fine.
22. (BROWN, Larry). "A Fireman's Sketches" in The North American Review. (Cedar Falls): (University of Northern Iowa), 1993. Advance excerpts from Brown's first book of nonfiction, On Fire, published the following year. Includes three chapters and two partial chapters from the published book, and they appear here in a different order. Brown began writing in 1980 when he was working as a firefighter. On Fire describes his time as a firefighter and mentions that he would stay up late at night reading while his co-workers were sleeping. Signed by Brown at his contribution. Fine.
23. BURKE, James Lee. The Neon Rain. NY: Henry Holt (1987). The uncorrected proof copy of the first book in the acclaimed and award-winning Dave Robicheaux mystery series. Signed by the author, twice, on two different occasions, or at least in two different pens: the proof has a half title both preceding and following the title page, and it would have been easy to flip the proof open and assume it to be unsigned. Staple at two outer corners; minor vertical crease and mild sunning to covers; near fine in wrappers. Publication date of March 27, '87 written across the bottom front cover. The Robicheaux series has been acclaimed as the most literary series of its kind; its location, New Iberia, Louisiana, plays an important role in the books, both in terms of its geography and its history, politics and culture. The Robicheaux character is a Vietnam vet and a recovering alcoholic, and the series is steeped in unremitting violence. Burke has won two Edgar Awards, one of them for Black Cherry Blues, the third Robicheaux book. This, the proof of the author's breakthrough book, is scarce, especially signed.
24. BUTLER, Robert Olen. Autograph Letter Signed. August 4, 1992. Butler writes to a young writer/poet, thanking him for his note and confiding "As you are no doubt learning, it gets a little spooky doing what we do and so rarely knowing that connections are being made." Butler also informs the recipient that his book [A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain] has won the Southern Review/LSU Prize for short fiction and that he will be giving a reading at LSU; the title went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1993. Signed by Butler. Written on McNeese State University stationery. Folded in thirds for mailing, fine. With hand-addressed mailing envelope.