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IONESCO, Eugène.

L’homme aux valises.

Suivi de Ce formidable bordel! (nouvelle édition).

Published: Paris: Gallimard, 1975

Stock code: 107744

Price: £1,250

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First edition thus, first impression. Out-of-series copy from an edition of 55, inscribed by the author “A H. Gene Blocker, avec toute ma sympathie, Eugène Ionesco” on the half-title, together with two typed letters signed from Ionesco to Blocker, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Ohio University, discussing the possibility of a lecture series in the United States. In the first letter, dated 18 December 1975, Ionesco politely declines Blocker’s invitation: “Unfortunately, my command of English doesn’t allow me to do a lecture in English. I just read some easy texts and I understand a little English language but I don’t speak English at all. So, I think that my visit to the States wouldn’t be of any interest.” The second letter, dated 29 December, reveals a volte-face. Ionesco, having since received a letter dated 12 December, now writes in French thanking Blocker for the “great honour” of his invitation, which he is professedly keen to accept and hopes to use in order to lecture on the Theatre of the Absurd and issues of intellectual freedom in Europe, though he repeats the caveat that his inability to speak English might prove a major inconvenience, and adds that the proposed stay of two semesters would as such be too long. He also encloses a copy of his “two latest plays, of which the first has been translated into English as “A Hell of a Mess”, the second as yet untranslated”. “A Hell of a Mess” was the American title of Ce formidable bordel, first published in 1973 (L’homme aux valises previously unpublished).

Octavo. Original cream light card wraps printed in red and black. Together with two foolscap typed letters (300 210 mm), the first dated on copy paper, the second on wove paper. Spine creased as usual, a few faint markings to front panel and light crease to upper outer corner of rear. A very good copy. Letters neatly creased where folded, the first with a few discreet uses of corrective fluid, the second very slightly nicked at upper left corner and negligibly marked with very faint spotting along inner edge recto and verso: very good condition overall.

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