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Literary criticism & biography

Rare first editions, signed and inscribed copies, deluxe and collectible editions of books, pamphlets, and ephemera relating to critical writings about literature, including biographies and autobiographies of literary figures and printed collections of their correspondence.

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  1. The Prelude,
    (DOVES PRESS.) WORDSWORTH, William. The Prelude,

    Hammersmith : 1915

    First Doves Press edition, a remarkably attractive example of one of 155 copies printed on handmade paper. The Doves Press was run by T. J. Cobden-Sanderson alongside his wife Anne. Cobden-Sanderson left his career as a lawyer in 1884 in order to open the Doves Bindery, establishing the Doves Press in 1900. He was interested in all aspects of book design,... Learn More

    Stock Code: 139556

  2. Plutarch's Lives.
    (PLUTARCH.) CLOUGH, A. H. (ed.) Plutarch's Lives.

    London : 1893

    An attractive library set of Plutarch's biographical works recounting the lives of notable Greek and Roman figures including Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. Clough had started on his revision of Dryden's translation of Plutarch in America, whence he had sailed in October 1852 with W. M. Thackeray, spending nine months in a vain search for a permanent... Learn More

    Stock Code: 139091

  3. Boswell's Life of Johnson.
    (JOHNSON, Samuel.) BOSWELL, James; George Birkbeck Hill (ed.) Boswell's Life of Johnson.

    Oxford : 1887

    First Hill edition. By 1887 Hill was an established commentator of both Johnson and Boswell's works, having published Dr Johnson, his Friends and his Critics (1878) and an edition of Boswell's correspondence (1879). The Clarendon Press accepted Hill's proposal for a new edition of Boswell's Life in 1881, and the six volume text - the... Learn More

    Stock Code: 139100

  4. Marlborough.
    CHURCHILL, Winston S. Marlborough.

    London : 1933-1938

    First editions, first impressions, in a handsome binding. "Marlborough: his Life and Times took its place at once among the classics of historical writing. As the story of his ancestor's leadership of a grand alliance to prevent the domination of the continent by a single power, it was also a source of inspiration to Churchill in his campaign against... Learn More

    Stock Code: 139225

  5. Eccentric Biography;
    (BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.) Eccentric Biography;

    London : 1801

    First edition of this collection of biographies of historical and contemporary eccentrics, here an issue with the stipple engraved plates printed in colour, not known in other copies. Eccentrics vary from Bamfylde Moore Carew, king of the beggars, to various historical figures including Alexander the Great, Aristotle, Joan of Arc, Catherine the Great,... Learn More

    Stock Code: 138864

  6. 142281comp
    FREEMAN, Kathleen. The Work and Life of Solon.

    Cardiff : 1926

    First edition, first impression. Presentation copy of the author's first book, inscribed by the author to her long-term partner, at the very start of their acquaintance, on the front free endpaper, "Lilian M.C. Clopet, from Kathleen Freeman July 14th, 1926". This work, "considered essential reading", is uncommonly found in the jacket or inscribed, this... Learn More

    Stock Code: 142281

  7. Ian Fleming: The Bibliography.
    (FLEMING, Ian.) GILBERT, Jon. Ian Fleming: The Bibliography.

    London : 2017

    Second edition, first printing, one of 500 copies. Gilbert's bibliography was first published in 2012, and serves as a comprehensive guide to the work of Ian Fleming, covering everything from the first draft of Casino Royale in 1952 to editions still in print today. Learn More

    Stock Code: 122758

  8. Silver and Gold.
    HARTNELL, Norman. Silver and Gold.

    London : 1955

    First edition, first impression, presentation copy inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper to Princess Mary, "To Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal. With respect, gratitude and humble best wishes at Christmastime. Norman Hartnell, Christmas 1955." In this work, this copy of which is in an attractive presentation binding, Hartnell provides... Learn More

    Stock Code: 130515

  9. 141947comp
    FERLINGHETTI, Lawrence, & Nancy J. Peters. Literary San Francisco.

    San Francisco : 1980

    First edition, 84th printing, presentation copy inscribed to Beat icon, Carolyn Cassady, "For Carolyn in San Francisco on 'Literary San Francisco Day' 22 Sept 80", signed by both authors on the front free endpapers, and Cassady's annotations, on p. 179, correcting the text in her own entry, about her book Off the Road (1990).
    The recipient,... Learn More

    Stock Code: 141947

  10. The Appreciation of Poetry.
    PAUL, Eden & Cedar. The Appreciation of Poetry.

    London : 1920

    First edition, first impression. Presentation copy inscribed to the publisher Stanley Unwin on the front free endpaper: "To Stanley Unwin with the writers' kind wishes. October 30th, 1920." Learn More

    Stock Code: 140810

  11. The White House Years: Mandate for Change 1953-1956 [and] Waging Peace 1956-1961 [together with] At Ease: Stories I Tell My Friends.
    EISENHOWER, Dwight D. The White House Years: Mandate for Change 1953-1956 [and] Waging Peace 1956-1961 [together with] At Ease: Stories I Tell My Friends.

    New York : 1963, 1965, 1967

    First editions of Eisenhower's two volumes of presidential autobiography and his later volume of discursive memoirs. Nelson Doubleday Jr. (1933-2015) was the last president of Doubleday and Company (1978-86) before its sale to Bertelsmann AG in 1986; he was grandson of the founder, Frank Nelson Doubleday ("Effendi"). Doubleday were Eisenhower's publishers... Learn More

    Stock Code: 116984

  12. Present Indicative.
    COWARD, Noël. Present Indicative.

    London : 1937

    First edition, first impression. Presentation copy from the author, inscribed on the front free endpaper, "For Dennis Wheatley, from Nöel Coward"; with Wheatley's bookplate to the front pastedown. Present Indicative is Coward's "entertaining and often revealing memoirs" (Philip Hoare in ODNB). Learn More

    Stock Code: 114439

  13. 142251
    RUSSELL, Bertrand. My Philosophical Development.

    London : 1959

    First edition, first impression, of "a masterpiece of philosophical autobiography" (jacket front flap), charting Russell's philosophical development from the age of 15 to the time of the book's publication. Learn More

    Stock Code: 142251

  14. 136359
    LOKER, Chris One Hundred Books Famous in Children's Literature.

    New York : 2014

    First edition, first printing. Learn More

    Stock Code: 136359

  15. 141811
    (REMINGTON, Frederic.) HASSRICK, Peter H., & Melissa J. Webster. Frederic Remington.

    Cody, Wy : 1996

    First edition, first printing, deluxe issue, number 246 of 250 copies signed by both authors on the title page of the first volume. Frederic Sackrider Remington (1861-1909) was an American artist and writer who specialized in depictions of the Old American West. Learn More

    Stock Code: 141811

  16. Royal Characters.
    DOBSON, William T. (ed.) Royal Characters.

    London : 1881

    First edition. A handsome copy. Learn More

    Stock Code: 141849

  17. The Complete Works.
    IRVING, Washington. The Complete Works.

    New York : 1850-80

    A lovely set of the Hudson edition. Annotated matter inserted into one volume suggests this particular set belonged to a Mr. Wentworth Bacon of Canoe Hill Farm, New York. Mr Bacon was a friend to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and neighbour to Henry Morgenthau Jr., the 52nd Secretary of the Treasury who served from 1934 until 1945. Learn More

    Stock Code: 138193

  18. 140732
    GRAVES, Robert. Lars Porsena.

    London : [1927]

    First edition, first impression of this satirical treatise on the decline of swearing in the English language, including a defence of James Joyce's Ulysses from the charge of obscenity. Learn More

    Stock Code: 140732

  19. Timebends.
    MILLER, Arthur. Timebends.

    New York : 1987

    First edition, first impression, signed by the author on the title page. Learn More

    Stock Code: 140751

  20. 140723
    GRAVES, Robert, & Alan Hodge. The Reader Over Your Shoulder.

    London : 1943

    First edition, first impression, of this study of English prose, featuring analysis of more than fifty short passages by eminent contemporary writers including T. S. Eliot, Daphne Du Maurier, Ernest Hemingway, H. G. Wells, and Aldous Huxley. Learn More

    Stock Code: 140723

  21. 140590
    (DOUGLAS, Lord Alfred.) STOPES, Marie Carmichael. Lord Alfred Douglas.

    London : 1949

    First edition, first impression. Learn More

    Stock Code: 140590

  22. 140591
    WYNDHAM-LEWIS, D. B. Ronsard.

    London : 1946

    First UK edition, third impression, of the author's biography of the French Renaissance poet Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585). The first edition was published in the US and UK simultaneously, with the first impression appearing in 1944. Learn More

    Stock Code: 140591

  23. An Account of the Life of Mr Richard Savage, Son of the Earl Rivers.
    JOHNSON, Samuel. An Account of the Life of Mr Richard Savage, Son of the Earl Rivers.

    London : 1744

    First edition of Johnson's celebrated biography of his friend Richard Savage, the flamboyant poet, playwright, and blackmailer, here bound with the first edition of Oliver Goldsmith's life of Beau Nash, another of the most celebrated biographies of the 18th century.
    Johnson's Life of Savage has the last page in the state with a single-line erratum.... Learn More

    Stock Code: 141773

  24. A Gorey Year.
    GOREY, Edward. A Gorey Year.

    Petaluna : 2000

    A fine wall or desk daily calendar for the year 2000, also year of the Edward Gorey's death. Learn More

    Stock Code: 141478

  25. The Life of Robert Owen: Written by Himself,
    OWEN, Robert. The Life of Robert Owen: Written by Himself,

    London : 1857-8

    First edition of the autobiography of Robert Owen (1771-1858), one of the most influential thinkers and social reformers of his time, "published in his eighty-seventh year, but probably written much earlier, perhaps when he was planning the writing of his memoirs in 1835. The first volume takes the story of his life to the early 1820s" (Goldsmiths'... Learn More

    Stock Code: 87786

  26. James Joyce: A Study in Words.
    (JOYCE, James.) PRESCOTT, Joseph. James Joyce: A Study in Words.

    New York : March 1939

    The truly rare original offprint, with only two copies listed by OCLC worldwide (Harvard and National Library of Israel), of this groundbreaking early article on James Joyce, published two months before the final release of Finnegans Wake. Joseph Prescott would go on to become a major voice in Joycean studies, in particular through his book Exploring... Learn More

    Stock Code: 140930

  27. Ronald A. Wilford Presents Marcel Marceau and His Partner Pierre Verry.
    (MARCEAU, Marcel.) Ronald A. Wilford Presents Marcel Marceau and His Partner Pierre Verry.

    New York : 1973

    First edition thus, first printing, inscribed by Marceau on title page verso "In dear memory of Bip flower doodle Marcel Marceau, 1973"; together with a programme signed "Bip flower doodle Marcel Marceau, 1973" for one of Marceau's show in Denver, in March 1973. Dunetz published similar performance souvenir programmes from the late 1960s to 1976. Wilford... Learn More

    Stock Code: 140997

  28. Music at Night
    HUXLEY, Aldous. Music at Night

    London : 1931

    First edition, first impression. Learn More

    Stock Code: 116748

  29. An Account of the Life and Writings of James Beattie, LL.D.
    (BEATTIE, James.) FORBES, Sir William. An Account of the Life and Writings of James Beattie, LL.D.

    Edinburgh : 1806

    First edition of Forbes's principal work, an excellent association copy, inscribed on the front free endpaper to the author's son, "William Forbes Esqr. from the author"; together with a group of related contemporary autograph material laid in which reflects the strong ties between the Forbes and Beattie families.
    Sir William Forbes, 6th Baronet... Learn More

    Stock Code: 118450

  30. Hommage à Isadora Duncan.
    (DUNCAN, Isadora.) YORSKA, Lottie. Hommage à Isadora Duncan.

    [Paris] : 1927

    Rare first and only edition of this pamphlet calling readers for funds to save Isadora Duncan's house in Neuilly, France, from being sold to pay off her debts. The theatre director, Lottie Yorska, had taken it upon herself to make the news known outside of the US and had contacted the magazine Comœdia to raise funds for the purchase of the house. Duncan's... Learn More

    Stock Code: 140856

  31. A Life of Gaudier-Brzeska.
    (GAUDIER-BRZESKA, Henri.) EDE, H. S. A Life of Gaudier-Brzeska.

    London : 1930

    First edition, first impression, number 147 of 350 copies, of this illustrated biography of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, "designed to be a worthy memorial of his work", as pointed out in the loosely inserted publisher's promotional leaflet. Of the edition of 350 copies, ten were issued signed and bound in leather. The regular issue is uncommon in the dust... Learn More

    Stock Code: 140770

  32. "Year Without Spring."
    BRIGGS, Ernest. "Year Without Spring."


    The typescript gives an epistolary account of the army service of Ernest Briggs (1905-1967), the Australian poet, broadcaster and music critic, in Papua New Guinea during the Second World War, the letters being addressed to the pianist Harriet Cohen.
    The first letter dates from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 26 June 1942; the last is dated 22... Learn More

    Stock Code: 93902

  33. The Roman Poets of the Augustan Age.
    SELLAR, W. Y. The Roman Poets of the Augustan Age.

    Oxford : 1899

    Handsomely bound copy of this overview of Roman poetry. Sellar's works, including "The Roman Poets of the Republic (1863), The Roman Poets of the Augustan Age: Virgil (1877), and Horace and the Elegiac Poets, edited by W. P. Ker (1892) were all remarkable examples of sound and sensitive literary criticism" (ODNB). Learn More

    Stock Code: 140818

  34. Shakspeare's Heroines.
    JAMESON, Anna. Shakspeare's Heroines.

    London : 1891

    Large paper edition, one of 175 numbered copies of which this is number 127. Jameson's work was originally published in 1832 under the title Characteristics of Women, Moral, Poetical and Historical. Learn More

    Stock Code: 140646

  35. The Annual Necrology for 1797-8.
    (WOLLSTONECRAFT, Mary.) HAYS, Mary, and others. The Annual Necrology for 1797-8.

    London : 1800

    First edition, and sole volume, of this ambitious project to record obituaries of notable persons on an annual basis. The most significant memoir recorded here is the 49 page obituary of Mary Wollstonecraft by the feminist biographer Mary Hays (1759-1843). Hays received a copy of Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman upon its publication... Learn More

    Stock Code: 123651

  36. The Life of Samuel Johnson.
    BOSWELL, James. The Life of Samuel Johnson.

    London : 1835

    An attractive set of Boswell's great biography, first published in 1791. "This version contains both the original texts, augmented by the additional writings of the biographer and his subject, and the very valuable new and related material which Croker introduced in his 1831 edition" (Pottle). "Boswell's Life of Johnson remains the most famous biography... Learn More

    Stock Code: 140500

  37. Edmund Campion.
    WAUGH, Evelyn. Edmund Campion.

    London : 1935

    First edition, signed limited issue, number 45 of 50 copies signed by Waugh "for private distribution". Learn More

    Stock Code: 112493

  38. Autograph letters to Professor Donald Robertson.
    HOUSMAN, A. E. Autograph letters to Professor Donald Robertson.

    Cambridge : 1920-36

    An exceptional collection of autograph letters signed from poet and classicist A. E. Housman (1859-1936) to Donald Struan Robertson (1885-1961 - a stellar Greek scholar attached to Trinity College, Cambridge, from his undergraduate days until his death) and his wife. He was particularly respected for his work on Apuleius, and was Regius Professor of... Learn More

    Stock Code: 119798

  39. The complete poems and fragments.
    OWEN, Wilfred, & Jon Stallworthy (ed.) The complete poems and fragments.

    London & Oxford : 1983

    First edition, review copy, with the loosely inserted publishers' review and press release sheets, of wartime poet Wilfred Owen's works. The first collection of Owen's poems was published two years after his death, in 1920, with an introduction by Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967), and was followed by another in 1931, edited by the poet Edmund Blunden (1896-1974).... Learn More

    Stock Code: 140499

  40. The Memorial Service.
    (WILDER, Thornton Niven). The Memorial Service.

    Battell Chapel : 1976

    First edition, sole impression, inscribed by Wilder's sister Isabel on the front panel "For Peter & Kenneth, remembering Thornton's affection & admiration for Bart & the many memories we share with affection Isabel Feb - 24, 1977", and with a manuscript note also from Isabel laid-in loose "and ALWAYS greetings & affection to Jan from Isabel Wilder".... Learn More

    Stock Code: 140296

  41. Anton Chekhov and the Lady with the Dog.
    (CHEKHOV, Anton.) SMITH, Virginia Llewellyn. Anton Chekhov and the Lady with the Dog.

    London : 1973

    First edition, first impression of this study of "Chekhov's relationships with women and the portrayal of them in his work" (p.xv). In a fine full morocco binding by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. Learn More

    Stock Code: 140506

  42. Friday Nights.
    GARNETT, Edward. Friday Nights.

    London : 1922

    First edition, first impression, presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper: "Violet Scott James from Edward Garnett". Violet Eleanor Scott-James née Brooks (1885-1942) was a journalist and literary critic, as well as a close friend of Edward Garnett. Learn More

    Stock Code: 140475

  43. Autograph letter signed to T. S. Eliot.
    WOOLF, Virginia. Autograph letter signed to T. S. Eliot.

    Hogarth House, Paradise Road, Richmond, Surrey : Sunday [?12 November 1922]

    An exceptional letter connecting two of the key figures of the English modernist movement, here in their capacity as publisher/editors in the annus mirabilis of modernist publishing. Virginia Woolf writes to T. S. Eliot, addressing him familiarly as "Tom", on Hogarth House stationery towards the end of 1922, the year in which the Woolfs began to run... Learn More

    Stock Code: 126655

  44. A Tribute to Kevin Sullivan.
    HEANEY, Seamus, and others. A Tribute to Kevin Sullivan.

    New York : 1991

    First edition, number 3 of 25 copies signed to the title page by all five contributors (Seamus Heaney, Thomas Flanagan, Benedict Kiely, Sean White, and June K. Davison). An unsigned issue was also released in an unrecorded run. The tribute reproduces the speeches given at the memorial reading for Sullivan at Queen's College, New York, on 2 May 1988.... Learn More

    Stock Code: 140158

  45. Going Solo.
    DAHL, Roald. Going Solo.

    London : 1986

    First edition, first impression. Inscribed by the author on the half-title, "To Jenny with love, Roald Dahl, 1988". Learn More

    Stock Code: 112116

  46. Poetry of the Celtic Races, and Other Essays.
    RENAN, Ernest. Poetry of the Celtic Races, and Other Essays.

    London : [1897]

    First edition in English, this book was first published in France in 1854 as "La poésie des races celtiques". Ernest Renan (1823-1892) is best known for his 1863 Vie de Jésus, which was an immediate success, but " it is Renan's approach to the subject and his beautiful prose that gave it lasting eminence" (PMM 352).
    This copy belonged... Learn More

    Stock Code: 139627

  47. Dramatic Miscellanies:
    DAVIES, Thomas. Dramatic Miscellanies:

    London : 1783-4

    First editions, volumes I and III 1784, volume II 1783. Davies had a successful career as an actor before setting up as a bookseller in Covent Garden, his shop becoming a meeting place for the theatrical and literary world, it was in the back parlour of this shop that Boswell first encountered Johnson. In the 1770s Davies turned to writing, particularly... Learn More

    Stock Code: 139635

  48. My Guru and His Disciple.
    ISHERWOOD, Christopher. My Guru and His Disciple.

    New York : 1980

    First edition, first printing, inscribed by the author "for Burton & Elliot, Christopher Isherwood" on the front free endpaper. The book is an account of Isherwood's time as a student to the Hindu priest Swami Prabhavananda, who guided Isherwood for over 30 years. Learn More

    Stock Code: 140102

  49. Medieval History and the Romantic Imagination.
    RUNCIMAN, Steven. Medieval History and the Romantic Imagination.

    Oxford : [1963]

    Scarce original offprint inscribed by the author "with best wishes SR" to the front free endpaper. This copy is from the library of John Julius Cooper, 2nd viscount Norwich (1929-2018) a hugely prolific popular historian and television presenter. Runciman and Norwich led very similar careers: both educated at Eton, both dabbling in the Foreign Service,... Learn More

    Stock Code: 139947

  50. Focus One [together with] Focus Two.
    PEARSE, Andrew, & Balachandra Rajan. Focus One [together with] Focus Two.

    London : 1945 & 1946

    First editions, first impressions. Focus was a serial miscellany concerned with contemporary writing: Focus One presents a wide selection of poems and essays, while Focus Two is primarily concerned with the realist novel in the 1930s. Learn More

    Stock Code: 140057

  51. As it Was.
    (THOMAS, Edward.) THOMAS, Helen. As it Was.

    London : 1926

    First edition, first impression, of Thomas's tender yet frank memoir of her life with poet Edward Thomas, in a remarkable example of the scarce jacket. A follow-up volume, World without End, was published in 1931, the two memoirs published as one volume in 1935. Thomas began writing these memoirs in an attempt to lift herself from her depression... Learn More

    Stock Code: 139953

  52. Essays in Biography.
    KEYNES, John Maynard. Essays in Biography.

    London : 1951

    Expanded edition, with three new essays, on Isaac Newton, William Stanley Jevons, and Mary Paley Marshall. First published in March 1933, with a second impression in May 1933, this marked the third printing overall. Keynes's collection gives biographical sketches of various economists and politicians, including Winston Churchill, Alfred Marshall, and... Learn More

    Stock Code: 140126

  53. Getting to Know the General.
    GREENE, Graham. Getting to Know the General.

    London : 1984

    First edition, first impression. The story of Greene's five-year involvement with General Omar Torrijos, who ruled Panama from 1968 to his death in a plane crash in 1981. Learn More

    Stock Code: 139957

  54. Yours etc.
    GREENE, Graham. Yours etc.

    London : 1989

    First edition, first impression. Learn More

    Stock Code: 139958

  55. The Fire and the Sun: Why Plato Banished the Artists.
    MURDOCH, Iris. The Fire and the Sun: Why Plato Banished the Artists.

    London : 1977

    First edition, first impression. Learn More

    Stock Code: 139934

  56. Sidney H. Sime, Master of Fantasy.
    (BRADBURY, Ray, intro.) SKEETERS, Paul W. Sidney H. Sime, Master of Fantasy.

    Pasadena, CA : 1978

    First edition, number 73 of 200 copies signed by Bradbury and Skeeters, additionally number 16 of 50 copies with a copy of Arthur Machen's drawing for Sime's "The Hill of Dreams" loosely inserted, and a dust jacket reproducing "A Beast" by Sime, both numbered in manuscript. This is the definitive work on the artist noted for illustrating the stories... Learn More

    Stock Code: 139783

  57. The Queen.
    (WILSON, Harold.) MORROW, Ann. The Queen.

    London : 1984

    Harold Wilson's copy of this biography of his sovereign, inscribed to him on the front wrapper verso: "To Rt Hon Lord Wilson of Riveaulx, & Lady Wilson, House of Lords, S.W.1. 12/3/86" (the presenter unclear; the hand not matching that of the author). Wilson has intensely annotated eleven pages of the book (the rest unannotated), especially in the chapter... Learn More

    Stock Code: 138078

  58. Shakespeare.
    BROWN, Ivor. Shakespeare.

    London : 1963

    First edition, fourth impression, finely bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. Learn More

    Stock Code: 136667

  59. Auteurs Deguisez,
    [BAILLET, Adrien.] Auteurs Deguisez,

    Paris : 1690

    First edition of the first work in French devoted to pseudonyms. "Unlike Latin works on pseudonyms of the period, Baillet does not simply unmask authors who have written under assumed names; instead he offers a history of the practices, civil and ecclesiastical, of naming and re-naming, as well as a reflection on and a limited justification for the... Learn More

    Stock Code: 128678

  60. Letters and Reminiscences.
    DOSTOEVSKY, Fyodor. Letters and Reminiscences.

    London : 1923

    First edition in English, first impression. The material includes a letter from Dostoevsky to his brother, letters to Maikov, to his wife, and to Pobiedonoszev, and reminiscences of Dostoevsky by his wife. S. S. Koteliansky translated a number of Russian works into English, often working with Virginia Woolf, publishing their translations at the Hogarth... Learn More

    Stock Code: 121093

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