Catalog 164, C

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27. CALVINO, Italo. The Path to the Nest of Spiders. Boston: Beacon Press (1957). The first American edition of his first book, originally published in Italy in 1947. Inscribed by the author to bookseller and book collector Burt Britton, who included Calvino in his book of authors' self portraits, Self-Portrait: Book People Picture Themselves. Calvino came to prominence in the English-speaking world in the late 1960s, when he moved to Paris and Cosmicomics was published in English. He went on to publish a series of highly praised novels, and was widely considered a perennial Nobel Prize contender. Other than a couple of signed limited editions he did, books signed by him are scarce, especially English-language books. He did not do readings and author tours and signings; Burt Britton, first at the Strand Bookstore and later at Books and Company on Madison Avenue in New York City, was at the heart of the New York City book world and an avid collector. Books and Company hosted readings and was visited by virtually every literary figure who visited New York. Britton collected widely in modern literature and attempted to get all of his books inscribed, and largely succeeded. Shallow fraying to the spine extremities; near fine in a near fine dust jacket.

28. CAMUS, Albert. Le Minotaure ou La Halte d'Oran. (Paris): Charlot, 1950. The limited edition of an essay on finding solitude in order to replenish the soul. "There are no more deserts. There are no more islands. Yet there is a need for them." Camus argues that one can find solitude in the city but not in the cities of Europe, which have too much history present at all times; he finds Oran, in his native Algeria, to be a city where one can find the needed solitude. The edition was 1343 copies in a number of issues: this is one of 120 copies reserved for the use of the author. Although issued as an unsigned edition, this copy is inscribed by the author: "a Nicole, et Jean Marie/ avec la fidele affection/ de leur vieux camarade/ Albert Camus." ["To Nicole, and Jean Marie/ with the faithful affection/of their old comrade/ Albert Camus."] The recipients were almost certainly Nicole and Jean-Marie Domenach, French intellectuals and friends of Camus, albeit with some philosophical differences. Jean-Marie was a noted left wing Catholic thinker, and while he and Camus were both vocal in protesting such activities as the French use of torture during the Algerian civil war, Domenach had considerably more sympathy for the socialist and communist governments of the time, which Camus found repugnant. It is interesting to note the comma in the inscription, as though the inclusion of Jean-Marie in the presentation was an after thought, or perhaps a necessity of politesse. Long after Camus had died, Jean-Marie Domenach provided a preface to a book of his thinking, Albert Camus and Christianity. Hope on Trial. This is one of 120 copies in vellum, on Rives paper. The deluxe editions of this title turn up at auction with some regularity, but we were unable to find any instance of one of the author's copies in the market, and very few copies of this limited edition have ever turned up signed. A remarkable rarity, and a notable association copy.

29. CAPOTE, Truman. Autograph Letter Signed. March 14, 1972. A full page letter (roughly 100 words) written from Verbier, Switzerland, to Virginia Spencer Carr, biographer of Carson McCullers. Capote's main point seems to be to discount any rumor of an enduring quarrel between McCullers and himself, saying "Carson and I never had any quarrel that I know of. It is true that we didn't see much of each other during her last years, but a few months before her death she wrote me, out of the blue, a very affectionate letter." The letter is signed "T. Capote." It is written on the back of a February letter from Carr to Capote, in which no mention is made of a quarrel; there is only Carr's desire to meet with Capote to talk about her subject. Capote and McCullers had a long relationship, with a love-hate element to it: McCullers was the person who recommended Capote to Random House for his first book when Random was trying to woo her away from Houghton Mifflin, and Random House became Capote's longtime publisher. Both writers were intensely competitive and, according to Marguerite Young in George Plimpton's oral biography of Capote, at first "he worshipped at her feet but when she emerged as a writer the feud began..." Later she mentions a time when Capote was driving in Rome and saw McCullers on an island in the middle of traffic and said to Young, "Ahhh, now I can get her! I can just brush past her and knock her down, kill her!" Young repled "Oh, Truman, don't be ridiculous, everybody will know." The letter is folded in thirds for mailing. A self-addressed stamped envelope had obviously been provided by Carr and is included here, with Capote having signed his name as the return address. Also included is a mailing return receipt signed by Capote as well as an otherwise blank index card, also signed by Capote. Apart from the mailing folds, all items are fine.

30. CARROLL, Jim. Living at the Movies. NY: Grossman, 1973. The first book to be published by an "above-ground" publisher by this poet who was prominent in the New York City counterculture in the late Sixties. Carroll was already something of a legend before he was 18, and he had received glowing praise from even such a literary luminary as Jack Kerouac, who wrote "at 13 years of age, Jim Carroll writes better prose than 89% of the novelists working today." He was part of the social milieu that included performers like Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground and poets such as Ted Berrigan, Ron Padgett and others. It was a cultural scene heavily defined by drugs and rock and roll, and Carroll's writings comprise one of the great coming-of-age documents of the drug culture. Near fine in a near fine Larry Rivers-designed dust jacket with a small black sticker on the front flap over the price. A Viking Press catalog clipping announcing the then-forthcoming book is laid in.

31. CARY, Joyce. The Horse's Mouth. NY: Harper & Brothers (1944). Probably the author's most famous book, the third volume in his first trilogy, and called "perhaps the finest novel ever written about an artist." Signed by the author on a tipped-in leaf, dated 1949. The 1958 movie starring Alec Guinness was nominated for an Academy Award for its screenplay, which Guinness wrote. A fine copy in a near fine, lightly rubbed dust jacket. An exceptionally nice copy of this book, whose thin black dust jacket is notoriously subject to wear.

32. CATTON, Eleanor. The Rehearsal. (London): Granta (2009). The first British edition, and first hardcover edition, of this highly praised, award-winning first novel, originally published in a small edition in New Zealand. Signed by the author in 2013. Fine in a very near fine dust jacket nicked at the upper rear spine fold.

33. -. Same title. The advance reading copy of the first British edition (identified on the front cover as "an uncorrected proof"). Signed by the author in 2013. Fine in wrappers. Scarce, especially signed.

34. COETZEE, J.M. In the Heart of the Country. London: Secker & Warburg (1977). His first novel published outside of his native South Africa (published in the U.S. as From the Heart of the Country), this was also his first book to tackle head-on the political antagonisms between the colonizer and colonized, in particular in his native South Africa, where the tensions were exacerbated by racism. He has returned to these themes repeatedly, and has won the Nobel Prize for Literature as well as winning the Booker Prize twice. This book was made into the film Dust in 1985, directed by Marion Hansel, which won two awards at the Venice Film Festival that year. Signed by the author for the publisher, Tom Rosenthal. Laid in is an autograph note signed by Rosenthal, dated in 2007: "John Coetzee signed this book for me when he came here for dinner on his next visit to London following his first Booker Prize win with Life & Times of Michael K." Mild toning to endpages; near fine in a near fine dust jacket with the original price intact and no sticker, with tanning to the spine lettering and trace edge wear. A very nice copy of a ground-breaking book, by one of the most acclaimed authors of our time, and seldom found signed.

35. COETZEE, J.M. Waiting for the Barbarians. London: Secker & Warburg (1980). The first British edition and the true first edition of his second book. Signed by the author, again for the publisher, Tom Rosenthal, with an autograph note signed by Rosenthal laid in, dated in 2007: "John Coetzee signed this book for me when he came here for dinner on his next visit to London following his first Booker Prize win with Life & Times of Michael K. Waiting for the Barbarians was published as a paperback original when it was issued in the U.S. Nonetheless it received a front page review in The New York Times Book Review, almost unheard of for a paperback, and it propelled the book to a bestsellerdom it might otherwise have failed to achieve. Coetzee's next book, Michael K, won the Booker Prize, and there was some speculation that, deserving as that book might have been, the award was something of a "make-up call" for the judges' having missed out on Barbarians. After Coetzee won the Nobel Prize in 2003, Penguin books added Waiting for the Barbarians to its 20-volume series of Great Books of the 20th Century, the only book of his to be included. A couple of faint spots to the top edge, else fine in a near fine dust jacket with the usual spine fading; the text, while faint, is still visible and readable, unlike some other copies we have seen.

36. COETZEE, J.M. The Nobel Lecture in Literature, 2003. (NY): Penguin (2004). The American edition. Signed by the author. In addition to the lecture, this edition includes the Acceptance Speech, not in the British edition. Fine without dust jacket, as issued.

37. COETZEE, J.M. A House in Spain. Amsterdam: Cossee (2003). A little-known bilingual (English/Dutch) limited edition of this story that first appeared in Architectural Digest, here issued as a New Year's keepsake for friends of the publisher. One of 1500 copies, hardbound, without dust jacket, and with the English and Dutch versions bound back to back. Yellow cloth very mildly dusty; still fine.

38. COETZEE, J.M. Diary of a Bad Year. London: Harvill Secker (2007). The limited edition of this novel of an aging writer very much like Coetzee -- a South African transplanted to Australia, and author of a novel, Waiting for the Barbarians -- who jots down his thoughts in essays on a variety of subjects, interspersed with the writings of his neighbor whom he has hired to type his manuscripts, and his own diaries. Copy No. 87 of 100 copies signed by the author. Bound in goatskin; a fine copy, housed in a custom slipcase. An attractive edition, issued in a very small limitation, especially for a Nobel Prize winner.

39. (COETZEE, J.M.). A Literary Miscellany by Members of the Staff and Students of The University of Cape Town, South Africa. Cape Town: University of Cape Town, 1958. Early publications by Coetzee, dating from two years before he received his undergraduate degree. Coetzee contributes three pieces to this assemblage: "The Love Song...," "Procula to Pilate," and "Attic." A 67-page stapled mimeograph production, collected by R.G. [Robert Gay] Howarth, whom Coetzee mentions in his fictionalized autobiography, Youth. Signed by Coetzee on the front cover. Light foxing, small foredge tear to front cover; near fine, and housed in a custom clamshell case, with the spine label titled "Attic/A Literary Miscellany." We have never seen nor heard of another copy of this; the format alone suggests that a very small number would have been done, and doubtless few have survived. Exceedingly scarce early writing by a Nobel Prize-winning author.

40. (COETZEE, J.M.). Staffrider. Braamfontein: Ravan Press, 1978. Advance or trial copy of Volume 1, No. 1 of Staffrider, a South African literary journal dedicated to being a popular outlet for writing by and for South Africans of all races and classes, and not just the elite and educated. The title of the journal is taken from "the slang for people hanging outside or on the roof of overcrowded, racially segregated trains," Prints Coetzee's poem "Hero and Bad Mother in Epic." Possibly Coetzee's only published poem. The text block for the magazine is unopened and uncut, currently longer than the covers to which it is laid in, indicating this is an unfinished, unpublished example. This example, which has a date of March 1978 for Volume 1, No. 1, would seem to correct information currently online that the magazine started publishing in 1977. Some foxing to pictorial covers; in all a very good copy, now housed in a folding chemise and slipcase. A special copy of the first issue of an influential South African journal, dating from the apartheid era and part of the movement that eventually ended with the dismantling of apartheid.

41. CREWS, Judson. The Southern Temper. Waco: Motive, 1946. An influential essay by this poet and critic, who was an early and longtime friend of Henry Miller and various other literary and artistic figures. Inscribed by the author in 1952 to Mary Shore, a painter and friend of Charles Olson. Near fine in stapled wrappers and a very good, dampstained dust jacket with two small holes on the rear panel.

42. CUMMINGS, E.E. Landscape with Red Tree and White Birches. 1947. Oil on canvas by Cummings, who did not title his paintings; the title given here is purely descriptive. 18" x 24". "By E.E. Cummings" written on the wood frame, apparently in another's hand. Cummings signed only a small fraction of his work, deliberately and for philosophical reasons: he believed the work should stand on its own -- and be judged on its own merits or faults -- rather than be judged by who the creator of it was. When he backed away from the New York art scene in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Cummings was backing away from what he considered to be an artistic milieu driven by personality and ego rather than by art. After his early period as an abstract artist, he focused on representational art for the rest of his life, but often -- as in this painting -- he used a palette and a style that owed much to his early influences among modern artists: Cezanne, Matisse, and the Fauvists. One tack missing from the top of the stretched canvas; else fine.

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