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FIRBANK, Ronald.


With a frontispiece by Felicien Rops.

London: Grant Richards Ltd, 1915 Stock Code: 123503
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"The most experimental modernist novel yet published in England"

First edition, first impression, of Firbank's first novel, one of only 500 copies. "With the appearance of his novel Vainglory in 1915 he styled himself Ronald Firbank for the first time, signalling the emergence of the mature writer. Like all his books until Prancing Nigger (1924), it was published at his own expense and to negligible acclaim. An unorthodox social comedy set in an English cathedral town, it was also the most experimental modernist novel yet published in England, and its abstruseness was found additionally baffling in the context of the war" (Alan Hollinghurst in ODNB).

Having published his first book - a collection of two short stories - as a schoolboy under his Christian name of Arthur, Firbank asked to be styled A. A. R. Firbank on the dust jacket, saying that "I feel sure that copies will sell better that way as one's acquaintance will recognise them sooner" (cited in Benkovitz). His name appears in that form on the front panel and spine of the jacket only; "Ronald" being used on the rear panel, flaps, and title page.

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Octavo. Original black cloth, spine and front cover lettered in gilt, top edge green. With dust jacket.


Spine ends a little worn, text block very slightly toned. A very good copy in the slightly torn jacket, 30 mm tear to top of front joint, short closed tears to edges of panels, small tape repairs to verso.


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