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[LOW, Helen Nora Wilson.] MOON, Lorna.

Dark Star.

Published: Indianapolis, IN: The Bobs-Merrill Company, 1929

Stock code: 82794

Price: £2,250

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First edition, first impression. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Jean Hersholt, a great artist, from the author of this book, Lorna Moon”. With the bookplate of the Motion Picture Country House tipped-in above the inscription and two MPCH ink stamps to the front pastedown. The author, Nora Low, grew up in Aberdeenshire but eventually moved to the US and became a Hollywood screenwriter, working on a number of hits in the 1920s, including Mr. Wu starring Lon Chaney, Don’t Tell Everything (1921) starring Gloria Swanson, and Her Husband’s Trademark (1922), with Gloria Swanson and directed by Cecil B. DeMille, Love (1927), and Anna Karenina starring Greta Garbo. She also wrote two semi-autobiographical literary works: the short story collection Doorways in Drumorty, (1925), and the present novel, Dark Star (1929), which was adapted as the film Min and Bill in 1930. Both were based on her childhood in a small, inward looking town in Scotland and explore similar themes including “the particular codes and conventions created by such a closed community, patterns of surveillance, strictures of public morality, evidence of private despair. They engage with the margins of this world, presenting itinerants, outcasts, and misfits with a distinct lack of sentimentality. Low’s work is also striking in its awareness of the position of women in the community: her stories deal with minutiae, with networks of power which operate in apparently insignificant areas” (ODNB). Though Hersholt, one of the leading Hollywood actors of the early 20th century never appeared in a film written by Low, the two may have been acquainted either socially or professionally. The bookplate records that this copy was donated by Hersholt to the Motion Picture Country House, a retirement community for Hollywood figures that, as president of the Motion Picture Relief Fund, he was instrumental in founding in 1940. A lovely copy, uncommon in such nice condition, with an excellent association.

Octavo. Original black cloth, white cloth backstrip, titles to spine in black and red, red top-stain. With the dust jacket. A little pale spotting to boards, top stain faded. An excellent copy in the jacket with faded spine panel, a few minor nicks, and a short closed tear to the lower panel.

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