Mistress of Mistresses.
A Vision of Zimiamvia.London : 1935 Stock Code: 30333
NotesFirst edition, first impression. Presentation copy from the author, inscribed on the front free endpaper: "To Sir Henry Newbolt, with my thanks for introducing me to a publisher who has dressed my book in the very dress I would have desired for it. E. R. Eddison, January 1935". Laid in is a fine 2-page autograph letter signed from Eddison to Newbolt, presenting this copy and relating several further details of publication; in full:
"My dear Newbolt, You did me a good turn when you put me on to Richard de la Mare. I think Faber's are really keen on the book: anyhow, they have shown enthusiasm so far by deeds which are more important than words. I do greatly hope for a success & good sales, if only to encourage them in their backing of my magnum opus. This is an advance copy: the lady makes her debut on Thursday 24th. Jan. I hope you will enjoy reading it: it comes to you with much grateful thought on my part of your support & praise of my work (which work, as I begin to see more clearly when I look at these 4 books of mine, has all along been steering by the same particular lode-star). Yours sincerely, E. R. Eddision. P.S. de la Mare has been responsible throughout for the format, & I am quite unable to say how much I feel indebted to him for so beautiful, readable, & attractive, a result" (dated 20 January 1935, Eddison's letterhead). "Before the war the design of Faber books had been superintended by Richard de la Mare" (Faber & Faber online). It was through the "eager championship" (ODNB) of the poet and writer Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938) that Walter de la Mare, father of Richard (1901-1986), established himself as a writer.
Mistress of Mistresses, a work of heroic fantasy, is the first of the "brilliant, complex, unfinished" Zimiamvian trilogy (Magill). In a letter of 1957, Tolkien referred to Eddison as "the greatest and most convincing writer of 'invented worlds' that I have read" (The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, 2000, p. 258). Presentation copies of Eddison's major works are scarce.
Octavo. Original blue cloth, device to upper board gilt, titles to spine gilt on a red ground, pink top edge. With the dust jacket.
Title vignetete, head- and tailpieces by Keith Henderson, three maps across pp. 462-63.
Jacket spine toned, some nicks, chips and tears, light signs of handling, trivial partial toning to endpapers, but a superior copy.
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