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20th Century Classics

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  • The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway – First UK Edition 1952 – with interesting related gift inscription at the coincidental premier of the movie “The Snows of Kilimajaro”

    The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway – First UK Edition 1952 – with interesting related gift inscription at the coincidental premier of the movie “The Snows of Kilimajaro”

    Should be everyone’s favourite short read. Nobel citation – “his powerful style-forming mastery of the art of modern narration, as most lately revealed in his novel The Old Man and the Sea”.

    A first UK edition, technically a few days behind the US issue of 1st September 1952. Octavo, 127 pages with the special and rare double side dust jacket. One with the rather plain style covered in first reviews; the other the adorable colourful wrap around jacket by Tisdall. Not price clipped either way. The jacket in very good condition … the double sidedness means there is a ghost fold either way as the printing technique is not perfectly aligned. The boards and pages are very clean for a book often with some foxing near the ends. A very good if not better copy.

    Attached to front free end-paper and only glued along the inside edge is an interesting inscription reading …

    “I hope this will serve to remind you of a pleasant evening spent at the first British presentation of the Ernest Hemingway film “The Snows of Kilimajaro” – George C Cooper – Picture Post. October. 1952.

    The Picture Post (1938-1957) was the UK equivalent of Life Magazine and had a huge following from the outset. Given the timing it had a very positive role during WWII. Cooper obviously delighted to give his guests at the premier of “Snows” a first edition of Hemingway’s latest, and to be final, success.

    Nobel Classic – Ernest Hemingway – Prized First UK Edition – Relevant Inscription October 1952



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  • Whalers of the Midnight Sun  – Alan Villiers [A Fiction Based on His Experiences] – 1964

    Whalers of the Midnight Sun – Alan Villiers [A Fiction Based on His Experiences] – 1964

    Maritime hero Alan Villiers brings his undoubted experience to this adventure book aimed at young boys.

    A new edition and first of its type, Angus and Robertson 1964. Octavo, 248 pages with ten full pages illustration from woodcuts by Charles Pont. A little aging to page edges and gift inscription back of half title, nice bright jacket, all up a pretty good copy.

    Endpaper maps of the voyage from Hobart, Tasmania down to Macquarie Island; the Balleny Islands; the Ross Sea; Grahams Island before heading north to Montevideo.

    A Norwegian expedition picks up some extra crew at Hobart, a motely band of youths and a stow away, little Alfie, who appears at Macquarie Island. Adventure ensues.

    Alan Villiers, a yarn about Whaling, from personal experience.


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  • A Woman – Rhys Davies – 1931

    A Woman – Rhys Davies – 1931

    A fine first of type edition published in 1931, having been published as part of a collection the previous year. A beautifully written and presented short story by the gifted Rhys Davies.

    Printed by Capell at the Bronze Snail Press London. Octavo, 39 pages, number 131 of a limited edition of 165 copies (plus an additional 17 for presentation). Printed on English hand-made paper and hand numbered and signed nicely by the author. Quarter gold toned buckram over an almost iridescent metallic designed paper covered boards.

    Rhys Davies (1901-1978) was born in Wales and became o prolific writer … this is one of almost 100 short stories and the best presented. Whilst he lived most of his adult life in London his work is often set in Wales … as is “A Woman”. He was friendly with D.H and Frieda Lawrence and stayed with them in France shortly before this work was penned and D.H. Lawrence’s passing. Davies smuggled Lawrence’s “Pansies” into Britain and saw to its publication.

    “A Woman” a forthright story about the development of a young woman in South Wales into “A Woman” .. with all the challenges of the time and place. Beautifully written.

    A book with a short poignant story … would make a super gift.


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  • Graham Greene – Collected Stories

    Graham Greene – Collected Stories

    A second printing of the Collected Series of Greene short stories. Includes the entirety of previous collections titled … May We Borrow Your Husband; A Sense of Reality and Twenty-One Stories. Added to A Sense … are three stories previously not published in book form … The Blessing, Church Militant and Dear Dr Falkenheim.

    One of the advantages of the “Collected Series” is the introduction by GG himself. Here we learn how the stories came about, what makes a great short story (try Chekhov’s – The Lady with the Dog) and also GG’s struggles with the form and the problem of knowing the outcome at the start compared with a fuller form novel of “entertainment’ as he preferred for his “shorter novel” the writer can be taken down various paths unknown at the outset. Well still did a rather good job anyway and the language often in these mere morsels often unfamiliar and rewarding.

    Publishes by the Bodley Head in 1974, octavo 562 pages … 40 stories all up. Dust jacket designed by Michael Harvey. Very good condition bar previous ownership signature on free end paper.

    Graham Greene – short stories, many and varied – great bedtime reading


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  • The Fortunes of Fifi – Molly Elliot Seawell – First Edition 1903

    The Fortunes of Fifi – Molly Elliot Seawell – First Edition 1903

    A first edition published by Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis in 1903. Interestingly, carries the booksellers sticker of Dymock’s Book Arcae, 428 George Street. Dymocks, Australia’s favourite book store was started in 1879 but soon moved to the aforementioned address as the business took off.

    Fifi is a young actress in fourth rate theatre in Paris. Napoleon is involved in a minor way. She has confidantes and admirers and much love and lost love ensues. She turns out to be related to a certain person in very high place … things get rich and in a tangle which really she is not that thrilled with – eventually, she ends up with the one she should. Complex and intriguing romance. The outline is easily told … it became an early silent movie circa WW! And was very successful.

    Octavo, 239 pages, with decorative end papers that match the delightful pictorial covers. A very good copy.

    Classic Romance based in Paris, became one of the very first movies.


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  • The Short Stories of John Steinbeck – Steinbeck

    The Short Stories of John Steinbeck – Steinbeck

    A 1958 edition of Stenbeck’s collection of his very best short stories.

    Published by Heinemann, London, Octavo 568 pages in all. Very good condition bar the jacket spine is light faded as usual

    The jacket gives a clue … includes these delights … Tortilla Flat; Of Mice and Men; The Red Pony; The Moon is Down; Cannery Row and The Pearl.

    Steinbeck Feast – six of the best.


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