Ann Veronica

A Modern Love Story.

London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1909 Stock Code: 131700

Presentation copy

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First edition, first impression. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, "'The Young Mistress's Tale' to Arnold Bennett. With love from his nephew, H. G. Wells", with Bennett's bookplate to the front pastedown. Ann Veronica is commonly believed to be inspired by Well's 1908-9 extramarital affair with feminist author Amber Reeves (1887-1981), a fact to which he seems to be referring in his genial inscription. It was the first of a series of Wells's novels aimed at addressing the taboos surrounding sexual desire in Edwardian England, and features vignettes of the women's suffrage movement in Great Britain, including a chapter inspired by the 1908 attempt of suffragettes to storm Parliament. Bennett, a close friend of Well's from 1897 until his death in 1931 "was clearly alert to the same issues... especially women's rights, and the 'new woman'. Hence he produced two important novels which turn on married infidelity and divorce (Leonora, 1903, and Whom God hath Joined, 1906)" and "all through his career Bennett showed remarkable insight into the plight of women caught in marriages or by emotional circumstances which bring them little satisfaction but which they nevertheless try to manage in ways that allow them some freedom" (ODNB). Signed copies of Ann Veronica are uncommon, with just three copies traced at auction, none with such an appealing literary association.

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Octavo. Original brown cloth, titles to spine and front cover in gilt, vignette design in gilt to front cover within frame blocked in blind. With the dust jacket. Housed in a custom brown cloth solander box.


Slight rubbing to extremities, small bump to foot of front board, foxing to book block edges, faint offsetting to endpapers; a very good copy in the jacket with sunned spine and edges, creasing and nicks to spine ends and tips, a couple of scuffs to panels.


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