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SITWELL, Osbert.

Left Hand, Right Hand! An Autobiography.

The Scarlet Tree; Great Morning; Laughter in the Next Room; Noble Essences, or Courteous Revelations.

London, Macmillan & Co., Ltd, 1945-48-49-50 Stock Code: 105764

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First UK editions, first impressions of Volumes I-IV (first published in the US in 1944, 1946, 1947, and 1948 respectively), and the first edition, first impression, of Volume V, which precedes the US edition by three days. The famous dust jackets were designed by Henry Cowdell, Art Director at Macmillan.

"On the death of his father in 1943, Sitwell succeeded to the baronetcy. Filled with thoughts of his own mortality, he began to concentrate on what was to become his magnum opus, his autobiography, a labour that over the following years would run to five volumes. Having a mild interest in chiromancy, he entitled his initial volume Left Hand, Right Hand (1945), from the belief of palmists that the left hand reveals characteristics determined at birth, while the right reflects those determined by an individual's own will. In this volume he scrutinized the two streams in his own life. Left Hand, Right Hand proved to be the best of twenty or so works Osbert had written over some twenty-nine years. In his second autobiographical volume, The Scarlet Tree (1946), Sitwell focused on his days at Eton and his first sojourn in Italy under the tutelage of his father. In the third, Great Morning (1948), he wrote of his boyhood at Renishaw and his stressful military career. In the fourth, Laughter in the Next Room (1949), he covered the period of the First World War and the 1920s. The final volume, Noble Essences: a Book of Characters (1950), was devoted to the importance of art and to reminiscences of such talented friends as Sir Edmund Gosse, Ronald Firbank, and Arnold Bennett" (ODNB).

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5 volumes, octavo. Original red boards, titles to spines gilt, top edges black, illustrated endpapers. With the dust jackets and Overseas Library wraparound band to final volume.


115 plates, folding genealogical table to Volume I.


Bookseller's ticket to Volume V on verso of front free endpaper. Light foxing to contents, spines of Volumes III and IV gently rolled, a few faint marks to edges of text blocks. An excellent set, in the price-clipped dust jackets that are lightly creased and nicked, with toned spines, small chip to Volume I at foot of spine panel, short closed tear to Volume V at foot of front panel, and Overseas Library stamp to front or back flaps of last three volumes.


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