The Happy Return.London: Michael Joseph Ltd., 1937 Stock Code: 143150
NotesFirst edition, first impression, signed by Forester on the half-title.
This is the first Hornblower book; "with the publication of The Happy Return, Forester created his best-known character, Horatio Hornblower, a sensitive and gifted individual, the flowering of whose talents within the chain of naval command revealed the author's understanding of Nelson's navy, and of sea power" (ODNB). The stirring jacket design is by Rowland Hilder, of whom an entertaining anecdote is related by the artist's biographer: "The two of them Forester and Hilder used to spend hours at the top of the house re-enacting Napoleonic battles with armies of tin soldiers. A new novel was due and Rowland was to design the cover and was anxious to get his hands on it. 'Oh' said Forester, 'it's nearly done now, I've only got to write it'" (Rado Klose, Rowland Hilder's British Isles, A. & C. Black, 2006, p. 32).
Octavo. Original green buckram, titles to spine in silver, yellow endpapers. With the dust jacket.
Ownership inscription of W. Cowden on Book Society bookplate to front pastedown. Top front tip a little bumped, the binding otherwise sharp, light foxing to edges, else internally clean and fresh. A very good copy in the very good jacket, slight dust-soiling, light creasing and edge-splitting, not price-clipped, notably unfaded.
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