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Mistress of Mistresses.

A Vision of Zimiamvia.

London : 1935 Stock Code: 30333
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First 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.

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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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