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  • Rasmie’s Buddie [Shetlandic Poetry] – Haldane Burgess

    Rasmie’s Buddie [Shetlandic Poetry] – Haldane Burgess

    This is the fourth edition of this most curios collection of “Poems in the Shetlandic” by Haldane Burgess illustrated by Frank Walterson.

    Published in beautiful Lerwick, Shetland by the local publishing company. Octavo, xxii,104 pages including the useful if not essential comprehensive glossary of Shetlandic words at the end. Very good condition in a like dust jacket.

    First published in the 19th century the work comprises forty seven poems which follow a very good biographical memoir of the poet by Manson and a preface by expert Lawrence Graham.

    There are smatterings of English .. “The Shetland words are rather tough, – And there are folk you’d reach – Who’d like the “’Buddie” right enough; – But can’t make out the speech. – I have knocked about the world, – Seen and read a thing or two – And picked up some plain English, – Which I’m pretty sure would do”

    But the fun in this work comes with the translation and the relaxing island style.

    Shetlandic poetry – what a way in to a beautiful dialect ..


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  • The Nature of Crime – Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Hueffer (Ford) – First Edition 1924

    The Nature of Crime – Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Hueffer (Ford) – First Edition 1924

    An unusual novel the third and final collaboration between Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Ford. Originally written in 1909 but only published until June 1924 … Conrad was to die in August that year.

    Published by Duckworth, London. Octavo, 119 pages, a short, pointed story. Preface by Conrad, one of the last things he penned. And, another Preface by Ford Madox Ford. Both particularly interesting writing about the effects of their collaboration [Conrad didn’t like Madox Ford’s choice of verbs]. A particularly good copy in a rather fine dust jacket.

    Described by Conrad as a “Fragment” … it is a short read … we agree with Conrad’s conclusion that it is well honed and written to be read out loud for dramatic effect. They did this to each other in its crafting.

    The unnamed protagonist tells his story through a series of letters to a love interest. The protagonist, a lawyer, has committed a crime, the embezzlement of trust funds over and extended period. He becomes more inwardly affected as time goes by … the letters become more frequent, and his deteriorating moral stance leads him downwards. Likely echoes difficult periods in Conrad’s early life and makes for a powerful intense drama.

    An unusual novel from the Conrad / Madox Ford co-operative … when alone read out loud!


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  • Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe – Published in 1790 – Two Volume Illustrated Edition by Stockdale London

    Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe – Published in 1790 – Two Volume Illustrated Edition by Stockdale London

    The full title of one of the world’s most famous books … “The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventure of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived eight and twenty years all alone in an uninhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River Oroonoque, Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself: With An Account how he was at last as strangely delivered by Pyrates. Written by Himself.” …

    The Second Volume is separately titled … “The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe being the Second and Last Part of his Life” … to which is appended George Chalmers’s “Life of Daniel Defoe”

    A two volume large octavo set bound in contemporary calf. Pagination Volume 1 .. viii,[iii]-iv, 493 pages – 9 full page plates: Volume 2 … [2],vi, 483 pages – 7 full pages plates. Some rubbing to covers and joints repaired, new in period labels to spine, a very good and desirable Robinson Crusoe set. Some age marks to title pages otherwise surprisingly clean internally.

    This is the first edition of the Stockdale version and the best illustrations to date. Engraved frontispieces and plates were by Thomas Stothard (1755-1834) a leading illustrator of the period.

    Robinson Crusoe the most popular, delightful and extraordinary of all of Daniel Defoe’s works. Loved by Dr Johnson who challenged anyone to put it down easily. By 1790 the text of Robinson Crusoe had become abused by other publishers, reduced and amended. Here, Stockdale reverted to the original text of Defoe to which he added the fine illustrations.

    Most may know that Defoe was a great follower of William Dampier the first person to circumnavigate the World twice and eventually three times. Dampier was embroiled in the strange goings on resulting in the leaving of Scotsman Alexander Selkirk on Juan Fernandos Island, off the coast of Chile. He also, rather strangely, was pilot on the vessel that was to pick Selkirk up many year later. The story of Selkirk’s solitary life there, goats etc is the basis of Robinson Crusoe. Defoe had the island transported to the mouth of the Orinoco, for marketing purpose one presumes.

    Late 18th Century and preferred illustrated Stockdale Volumes of Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.



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  • Pharais and the Mountain Lovers – Fiona Macleod (William Sharp) – 1924 Edition

    Pharais and the Mountain Lovers – Fiona Macleod (William Sharp) – 1924 Edition

    William Sharp (1855-1905) was a Scottish writer, poet and biographer. He edited poems for Walter Scott, Swinbourne and Arnold … he wrote the best biography of Rossetti who he knew well. As a writer of novels he had moderate success under his own name but under his highly secretive nom de plume Fiona Macleod was highly respected.

    After his death his wife assembled the “Fiona Macleod” works and presented them here bookended with a very worthy Forward and Bibliographical Note.

    Published by Heinemann in 1924, octavo, 401 pages Mountain Lovers being the longer of the two works. Bound in blue/green cloth covered boards with Celtic design to front. Strangely the boards have silver fish nibbles, whilst the rare dust jacket with matching design to front, titles to spine is in perfect condition. The result makes for a pretty attractive copy.

    Pharais subtitled “A Romance of the Isles” … the Scottish Isles that is and the narrative flows in such a mysterious, glamorous manner in true Celtic fashion .. the charm and terror of one night of tragic significance. The Mountain Lovers in a similar vein in the hills of North West Scotland.

    Sharp was so protective of Fiona Macleod … whenever a manuscript note was required in her hand he had it written by his sister Mary Sharp … he kept it up but a few worked it out … that in itself is a good story.

    Beautiful, strong Celtic infused narrative by Fiona Macleod .. well Sharp really


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  • The Water Babies – Charles Kingsley – 1920’s edition – illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith.

    The Water Babies – Charles Kingsley – 1920’s edition – illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith.

    The Water Babies was first published in 1863 in the midst of the Darwin’s developing theories on evolution .. more about that later.

    Water Babies has been re-issued numerous times, none more beautifully illustrated than this book. Published by Boots the Chemist (perhaps their best work during their foray into the book world).

    A substantial book … thickish quarto, ix, 240 pages with 12 super coloured plates, tipped in. Original green decorative cloth covered binding. Some spots on the page edges as usual (spongy paper), none on the plates, a very attractive copy of a desirable Water Babies.

    For those not in the know, a complex book, partly a satire supporting Darwin’s theory of evolution as commenced in “On The Origin Species”. The text briefly refers to Darwin, Huxley, Murchison and Owen.

    Huxley’s grandchild wrote to him after reading the book … “Dear Grandpater (they were posh) – Have you seen a Waterbaby? Did you put it in a bottle? Did it wonder if it could get out? Could I see it some day? – Your loving Julian” … Julian went on to be one smart chap also and wrote a great biography on Grandpater. Enough of that back to the book.

    As well as the whole evolution theme there are also pointers to Victorian issues … the gulf between the Have and the Have Nots. Protagonist Tom is a young chimney sweep not the son of an aristocrat. Later explorer Paul Du Chaillu shoots a gorilla who had reverse evolved from a human … the gorilla wanted to say ‘Am I not a man and a brother” .. further references to slavery etc etc. So all up quite a though provoking tale and still with modern day lessons … just need to think a bit.

    Water Babies a very special book and special beautifully illustrated edition


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  • Covent Garden Drollery: Printed at The Whitefriars Press for the Fortune Private Press 1927

    Covent Garden Drollery: Printed at The Whitefriars Press for the Fortune Private Press 1927

    A seriously special book. Octavo, vi,2,123pages bound in quarter cloth over paper boards, in pictorial speckled paper dust jacket. Illustrated frontispiece, facsimile title from 1672 first, decorated with vignettes. A lovely reprint of the original work. Couldn’t be a better copy.

    Subtitled .. A Collection of all the Choice Songs, Poems, Prologues and Epilogues, Sung and Spoken at Courts and Theaters, never printed before. Written by the refined’st Witts of the Age. And collected by A.B. With explanatory notes at the end. Edited by Montague Summers (1880-1948) author and clergyman, who wrote on the occult.

    This book is numbered 342 of a limited number of 575 copies. All printed on English unbleached handmade paper … absolutely lovely paper.

    Drollery from the past still amusing in the present and beautifully presented


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