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(GALSWORTHY, John and Ada, trans.)


An Opera in Four Acts. Taken from the story of Prosper Merimée, the original Libretto by H. Meilhac and L. Halévy. New English version.

Published: London: Elkin Matthews and Marrot, 1932

Stock code: 106768

Price: £125

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This item is on show at 100 Fulham Road (map)

First edition thus, number 539 of 650 numbered copies signed by the translators on the limitation page (600 for sale). This was the fruit of Galworthy’s long-standing admiration for, some would say obsession, with Carmen. A visit to Bizet’s opera furnished the pivotal moment in his 1913 novel The Dark Flower when the unhappily married narrator, Mark finds himself entranced by the seventeen-year-old daughter of an old friend, who at the evening’s close presents him with a carnation from her hair, moving him to exclaim “Carmen! Ah! Carmen!”. In Castles in Spain (1927) Galsworthy recounts how a visit to Carmen at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden furnished the occasion for a reunion with his old friend Joseph Conrad, the work being “a vice for us both”.

Octavo. Original red boards, white cloth spine lettered in black, titles and publisher’s device to front board in silver, top edge blue, others untrimmed, red endpapers. With the dust jacket. Board edges darkening, light foxing to deckle edges as usual. A very good copy in the dust jacket with a small chip at the head of the spine.

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