Kael, Pauline; Phillips, William (editor); Rahv, Philip (editor)
Movies, the Desperate Art” in The Berkley Book of Modern Writing, Number 3
Berkley Publishing Corporation, New York: 1956
First edition of this midcentury anthology, containing the first appearance of film critic Pauline Kael's manifesto "Movies, the Desperate Art." Published while Kael was struggling to manage a two-screen art house in Berkeley, this essay predates her hiring at The New Yorker by a dozen years. The concerns that dominate Kael's later criticism are already evident in this early salvo: her contempt for bland, bloated studio productions; her attraction to "individual creative responsibility" in directors and actors; her distrust of overtly moralizing and edifying pictures; and her celebration of the movies as "an extraordinary education of the senses." Most notably, she insists on taking the movies seriously, however "desperate" that art may be: "Object to the Hollywood film and you're an intellectual snob, object to the avant-garde films and you're a Philistine. But, while in Hollywood, one must often be a snob; in avant-garde circles one must often be a Philistine." Other contributors to the anthology include Norman Mailer, Bernard Malamud, Leslie Fiedler, and R.W.B. Lewis. A near-fine copy. Pocket paperback, measuring 6.5 x 4.25: , 216, . Original color-printed wrappers, priced at 50 cents. Lightest shelfwear, text block toned and brittle.
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Famous SallyFirst edition of Shirley Jackson's final work for children, written for her daughter, and published shortly before her untimely death at the age of forty-eight. Best known for her dystopian short story "The Lottery," Jackson perfected a brand of horror fiction inspired by the everyday routines of domestic life. Famous Sally, the tale of a young girl determined to make her name known to the world, is an apparently lighthearted fantasy based in a quietly unsettling will to power: "I will make people say my name. I am Sally and I will make the people in all the cities say my name." Famous Sally was one of the early titles issued by publisher Harlin Quist, who specialized in "progressive - even aggressive" books for children, including titles by Eugene Ionesco, Marguerite Duras, and Richard Hughes. Quist was widely acclaimed for the graphic design of his books, and criticized for their challenging content: "over one hundred children's books issued from his publishing houses in New York and Paris, casting a kind of eerie, haunting shadow over the otherwise sunlit world of children's literature and the children's book publishing industry." See Nicholas Paley, "Why the Books of Harlin Quist Disappeared - Or Did They?," Children's Literature Association Quarterly, 1989. A fine bright copy of Jackson's story of a young "influencer" before her time. Single volume, measuring 8 x 5.5 inches: . Original quarter beige cloth and decorated paper boards, gilt-lettered spine, light tan endpapers, original unclipped color pictorial dust jacket. Color illustrations throughout text. Lightest edgewear.
To Be a SlaveFirst edition of this award-winning history of slavery in the United States, edited by civil rights activist Julius Lester for young readers. To Be a Slave foregrounds the direct testimony of enslaved Americans, whose published narratives and oral histories Lester compiled at the Library of Congress. The result is a powerful firsthand account of the "peculiar institution," from the Middle Passage through emancipation, told in the words of those who experienced it: "In all the books that you have studied you never have studied Negro history, have you? . . . If you want Negro history, you will have to get it from somebody who wore the shoe." The book was among the earliest illustrated by Tom Feelings, the Brooklyn-born African-American artist, educator, and activist whose work focused on empowering black children. To Be a Slave was recognized as a Newbery Honor Book in 1968, as well as the Library of Congress Children's Literature Center Best Children's Book and Smithsonian Magazine's Best Book of the Year, and has never been out of print. A fine copy. Single volume, measuring 8.25 x 5.5 inches: , 13-160. Original dark blue cloth lettered in silver, original unclipped color pictorial dust jacket. Black and white illustrations throughout text. Lightest edgewear.
Pemberly” Travel PosterStriking tribute to Pemberley, the fictional country house of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, executed in the style of midcentury British Railways travel posters with their distinctive Gill Sans typeface. Austen writes: "It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills;-and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place where nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste." The spelling of "Pemberly" on this poster differs from Austen's original. A fine example. Full color poster, measuring 36 x 24 inches, printed on heavy stock.
On Going to BedFirst American edition of this historical survey of the bed in theory and practice, "a wealth of general bed-lore" by Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess. "We may divine that kings and queens did not sleep any better on their ornate machines than peasants on their mud floors (Shakespeare is always going on about this), but the elaboration of a bed had nothing to do with somniference. It was all a matter of symbolism . . . the kingly bed anticipated the kingly tomb, and even hinted at the possibility of resurrection." Lavishly illustrated with photographs of famous beds, including those of Mary Tudor, George Washington, and Napoleon Bonaparte, and beds painted by the likes of Raphael, Goya, Delacroix, and Van Gogh, with a reproduction of Toulouse-Lautrec's "In Bed" on the dust jacket. A crisp fine copy. Single volume, measuring 9.5 x 6.5 inches: 96. Original full brown textured cloth, spine lettered in dark brown, original unclipped color pictorial dust jacket. Color frontispiece, color illustrations throughout text.
The Savoy (advertisement)Original advertising "posterette" featuring Aubrey Beardsley's final cover design for The Savoy. A lavish quarterly devoted to literature, art, and criticism (mostly of Victorian behaviors), The Savoy was founded in 1896 by the libertine book dealer and publisher Leonard Smithers. Known for his decadent illustrations for Salomé and The Yellow Book, Beardsley was an inspired choice as designer. Due to a combination of societal backlash and a bloated budget, The Savoy ceased publication after only eight issues. This image appeared on the cover of the final single issue. It was reprinted shortly thereafter on this advertising "posterette" (as Beardsley termed it) to promote the complete three-volume set of The Savoy. An iconic image of the period. Color-lithographed poster, sight size 10.5 x 8.25 inches, framed to 18 x 15 inches. Signed with A/B monogram in lower left corner of image. A few faint creases.
The Ladies Bill of Fare or a Copious Collection of Beaux (fan leaf)A wonderful comic fan design, issued on Valentine's Day in 1795. Cupid offers the ladies a menu of potential lovers: "To plague and please all womankind / Here's Gallants sure a plenty! / Chuse then a Beau to suit your mind, / Or change 'till one content ye." The twelve options, caricatured along the top edge of the fan, are: The Merry Lover, The Melancholy, The Impetuous, The Platonic, The Carnal Lover, The Constant, The Capricious, The Coquet, Lover of the Cash, Lover of Himself, and Lover of Nobody. Each of the lovers is accompanied by a characteristic quotation: "Tender to me thy divine soul," "Give me thy good jolly person," or, in the case of the Lover of Himself, gazing approvingly into the mirror: "Faith, lad, thou art a killing dog." This is a scarce fan leaf. We locate examples at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grinnell, and the London Fan Museum. A delightful survival. Stipple-engraved fan leaf, printed recto only, measuring 11 x 20.5 inches at the widest points. Illustrated with twelve hand-colored vignettes and a central Cupid device. Imprint added in manuscript. Unevenly trimmed, lightest edgewear.
Miscellany Poems on Several Occasions. Written by a LadyFirst edition of the only collection of poems by Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea, to appear in her lifetime. Although reluctant to publish, Finch wrote and circulated her poems privately from a young age. Born into a noble family, and orphaned young, she was a member of the Restoration court; she and her husband Heneage Finch retired from public life when William and Mary came to power. In the countryside, with her husband's support, she pursued her writing: "My Hand delights to trace unusual Things, / And deviates from the known, and common way; / Nor will in fading Silks compose, / Faintly th' inimitable Rose." Finch's poems reflect her talent for evoking the natural world, her lifelong struggle with depression, and her frustration at the servile condition of women. Her poems return, again and again, to the ridicule that any writing by a woman occasioned. Even so, she was admired by peers like Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope, and by later poets including William Wordsworth, Leigh Hunt, and Matthew Arnold. Virginia Woolf, in A Room of One's Own, points to Finch as a prime example of the creative possibilities foreclosed by the dismissal of women's voices: "It was a thousand pities that the woman who could write like that, whose mind was tuned to nature and reflection, should have been forced to anger and bitterness. But how could she have helped herself?" This is the first issue of Finch's poems, without her name on the title page. ESTC T94540. A very good copy. Octavo, measuring 7.5 x 4.5 inches: , 390. Contemporary paneled calf, raised bands, spine compartments decorated in gilt, red morocco spine label lettered in gilt, edges speckled red. Bound without Cc4 (final blank). Scattered spotting to text; spine label and pastedowns renewed; top half-inch of title page trimmed. Expert repair to joints, corners, and spine ends.
The Name of ActionFirst edition, in the first state dust jacket, of Graham Greene's elusive second novel. After the success of his 1929 debut The Man Within, Greene was given an unusually large advance to write The Name of Action, which introduces key elements of his later work: espionage, revolution, a doomed love story. In this case, a callow young Englishman's plot to overthrow the German dictator is complicated by his infatuation with the man's wife: "'Mr. Chant, of - of South-West London -- offering the post of mistress to the wife of the Dictator of Trier. Doesn't it strike you as amusing - as,' she added fiercely, 'impertinent?'" A critical and commercial disappointment, The Name of Action was a source of embarrassment to Greene, who suppressed further publication: "I was trying to write my first political novel, knowing nothing of politics." A near-fine copy of a scarce book, in a remarkably fresh jacket. Single volume, measuring 7.25 x 4.5 inches: , 344. Original navy blue cloth, spine lettered in gilt, original yellow typographic dust jacket printed in red and black, with price of 7/6 on spine panel. Light wear to jacket spine ends, spine panel faintly sunned, stain to rear panel.
Stamboul TrainFirst edition, second issue, of Graham Greene's thriller, focused on an uneasy group of passengers on the Orient Express as they make their way from Ostend to Constantinople: "the windows shook and sparks flickered like match heads through the darkness." The first issue of the novel was suppressed by Heinemann in response to novelist J.B. Priestley's complaint that the character of "Q.C. Savory" was too obviously a caricature of himself. In this second issue, the character of "Q.C." is renamed "Quin." Following two commercially disappointing novels, Greene was determined to have a success with Stamboul Train: "for the first and last time in my life I deliberately set out to write a book to please, one which with luck might be made into a film." Greene has inscribed this copy with the rueful remark, "Not yet an Entertainment!" Stamboul Train would, however, be repeatedly adapted for film, radio, and television, most notably in the 1934 American picture Orient Express. A near-fine inscribed copy. Single volume, measuring 7 x 4.5 inches: , 307, . Original black boards, spine lettered in gilt, original unclipped color pictorial dust jacket. Inscribed on front free endpaper: "For Martin, / from Graham Greene. / Not yet an Entertainment!" Book Society bookplate to front pastedown. Occasional light browning to first and last leaves, expert repair to verso of jacket.
The Muses Library; Or a Series of English Poetry, from the Saxons, to the Reign of King Charles IIFirst edition of the first English poetical miscellany edited by a woman, the actress and playwright Elizabeth Cooper, who collaborated with the antiquary William Oldys on the historical notes. The Muses Library was "one of the earliest attempts to give a historical survey of the elder English poets by exhibiting specimens of their work in a chronological series" (Bronson, Modern Language Quarterly). In her subtitle, Cooper promises to provide "a General Collection of almost all the old valuable Poetry extant, now so industriously enquir'd after, tho' rarely to be found, but in the Studies of the Curious, and affording Entertainment on all Subjects, Philosophical, Historical, Moral, Satyrical, Allegorical, Critical, Heroick, Pastoral, Gallant, Amorous, Courtly, and Sublime." Cooper includes no table of contents, chapter headings, or index. The anthology opens before the Norman invasion, with a surprisingly lyrical land conveyance written by Edward the Confessor, and offers a fluid survey of changing poetic styles and subjects from Chaucer to Spenser to Shakespeare, with only Cooper's colloquial remarks to punctuate the rush of verse. Although the title page states "Volume I," this was the only volume of The Muses Library published; Cooper's miscellany would be reissued twice with a reset title page, and "Finis" on the final page, rather than "The End of the First Volume." A very good example of an uncommon first edition, a precursor to historical anthologies by Henry Headley, Robert Southey, and A.H. Bullen, who successfully borrowed Cooper's title. Octavo, measuring 7.75 x 4.5 inches: xvi, 400. Contemporary marbled boards, expertly rebacked in calf; raised bands ruled in gilt; red morocco spine label lettered in gilt. Early owner signature and pricing notes to front endpapers; expert paper repair to margin of G6.
Park AvenueProposed cover for The New Yorker byone of its most celebrated artists. This vision of springtime along New York City's Park Avenue just north of Grand Central Terminal exhibits Kovarsky's characteristic artistic process. A master of perspective, he leads the eye to a central intersection formed by vertical median plantings, bisected by a throng of crossing pedestrians at rush hour. The repeated pattern of flat, elongated cars mimics the windows of the surrounding buildings and sets the verdant gardens in relief. Teaming with The New Yorker's fact checkers to achieve maximum verisimilitude, Kovarsky depicted the exact botanical layout set by the New York City Parks Department and the "Salute to the Seasons Committee." He paints the first planting before the New York Central Building (now known as the Helmsley Building) solid green, reflecting the dedicated grass bed for the pigeons, who were clearly respected as deserving neighbors. A bright and joyful illustration by one of The New Yorker's most prolific artists. Mixed media with gouache, watercolor, ink, and collage on paper, measuring 23.75 x 18.50 inches, signed in image, lower right. Verso bears the artist's rough sketch of the composition. Minimal paper loss to left corner margins, hidden by mat, archival repair to upper right corner and a few other short marginal tears.
Notre-Dame with TouristsPenultimate study by Anatol Kovarsky for the August 13, 1966 cover of The New Yorker. With over three hundred cartoons and nearly fifty covers, Kovarsky was one of the magazine's most prolific artists. He was a master of perspective who delighted in repeating shapes to create graphic patterns. These effects were exaggerated by his preference for depicting scenes from high angles, as in this view of Notre-Dame, where we see the imposing sculptural figures on its monochromatic façade playing against the line of brightly colored buses and tourists. From his days as a student at the École des Beaux Arts, to his time as a cartoonist during the liberation of the city, Kovarsky would always hold Paris dear. Though this composition differs from the one ultimately created for the New Yorker's cover, it displays Kovarsky's dedication to process and the fullest expression of his initial concept. The final published work is in the permanent collection of The Morgan Library. A wonderful example of Kovarsky's New Yorker artwork, and a visual tribute to Paris's great Gothic cathedral, set to reopen to visitors next year. Mixed media with gouache, watercolor, ink, and collage on paper, measuring 20 x 16 inches, signed in image, lower left. Some light age toning, tape remnants or ghosts of removal along edges, outside of visual field and crop marks.
Elevated Subway Train at NightProposed cover design by Anatol Kovarsky for The New Yorker magazine, a dazzling nightscape capturing his love of New York City's energy. As the artist's daughter, Gina Kovarsky, recalls: "His appreciation for city life was such that when I was a little girl and we would be going on walks, he would draw my attention to the colorful and interesting patterns created by garbage strewn about on the streets, or by dilapidated storefronts with their torn-off signs." In this scene, the eye travels from the frenetic bustle of pedestrians and buses to a riotous collage of signage, the glowing Third Avenue "El" train, and, finally, the serene city skyline. A quintessential work byone of The New Yorker's most prolific artists that pays tribute to the elevated train on the eve of its demolition. Mixed media with gouache, watercolor, and ink on paper, measuring 11 x 12.25 inches, signed in image, lower left. Some light age toning, tape remnants or ghosts of removal along edges, outside of visual field and crop marks.
American Victorian Costume in Early Photographs; with: author’s research archive of original Victorian fashion photographsA fascinating archive of Victorian photographs recording the development of American fashion from the 1840s through the 1890s. Representing years of collecting and curating by historian Priscilla Harris Dalrymple, the images offer a visually rich record of "the last period in the history of costume to display such incredible extravagance and impracticality in dress [and] the first period that could be recorded photographically." Arranged chronologically, these images capture the styles that defined each decade, from the room-sweeping hoopskirts of the Civil War era to the shirtwaists and straw boaters of the 1890s. The photographers' stamps chart the proliferation of studios across the United States over the course of the nineteenth century, as portraiture became increasingly accessible to middle-class Americans. Although the daguerreotypes that illustrate the book's early chapters are not present here, the remaining photos, used and unused, reveal what fashion illustration in journals like Godey's Lady's Book do not: the way that clothes are always transformed by the expressions and stances of living people, even in the most formal poses. A significant resource, deserving of further study, and ideal for classroom use. Single volume, measuring 12 x 9 inches: , 108. Original photo-pictorial wrappers, illustrated with photographs throughout text. Light shelfwear. Accompanied by archive of 285 original portrait photographs from the 1860s through the 1890s, 111 of which are reproduced in Dalrymple's book: 2 tintypes and 109 albumen prints (53 cartes de visite; 56 cabinet cards). Images generally measuring 3.50 x 2.25 inches (cartes de visite) to 5.25 x 3.75 inches (cabinet cards), mounts slightly larger, most with photographer's credits and Dalrymple's cataloguing labels on verso, several with contemporary penciled captions. Condition varies, generally very good, with minor surface wear.
Specimens of Penmanship written by Mas. F.B. Leach at the High School, Oldham, Conducted by the Rev. Hugh Tait, B.A. (two volumes)Two highly decorative penmanship albums produced by a Victorian schoolboy in Oldham, outside Manchester. Each album contains six examples. The first volume includes three poems and two pages of neatly copied practice sentences: "Eminence demands our most earnest endeavours" and "Magnanimous persons deserve great commendation." The final page contains the sample text of a promissory note, dated February 5, 1865. The second volume includes three poems ("Flowers," "Liberty," and "Various Stanzas on Spring"), each with a hand-colored printed heading, and three practice sentences: "Endeavour to merit esteem and commendation;" "Procrastination often ruins commercial transactions;" and "Concealed resentment is sometimes most dangerous." Unusually handsome examples of Victorian educational practice. Two oblong folio volumes, measuring 9.25 x 12 inches: . Original glazed moiré card wrappers with gilt-embossed card frames and scenic chromolithographs (windmills in a field, a lakeside castle) mounted to covers. Tissue-guarded engraved pictorial title pages, featuring scenes of Cambridge, with Leach's name added in manuscript in colored inks. Six leaves of penmanship specimens and calligraphic flourishes in each volume, executed on rectos only. Three hand-colored printed headings in the second volume. Light shelfwear, tissue guard foxed in Volume I.
Four-Way Blocks (Swiss version)Shapur, Fredun (designer) Swiss edition of this iconic educational toy, graphic designer Fredun Shapur's four-way blocks. Shapur developed the first version of these blocks, featuring four simplified, stylized animals, in 1964. They were awarded the London Design Centre label, and picked up by Naef, the Swiss toy company, for manufacture and distribution in Europe. In 1972, as art director of the American toy company Creative Playthings, Shapur would develop two more variations on his four-way blocks, slightly smaller in scale. These Naef animal blocks, arranged and rearranged, reveal in turn a blue horse, a black elephant, an orange cat, and a green snake. See Amy Ogata and Mira Shapur, Fredun Shapur: Playing with Design (2013). A high spot of modern graphic design. Six wooden puzzle pieces, screenprinted in four colors, each piece measuring 8.25 x 1.25 x 1.25 inches. "Spiel Naef / Swiss Made" printed at top lefthand corner of cat image. Light shelfwear.
Tom Thumb’s Play-Book; to Teach Children Their Letters, by a New and Pleasant Method[ABC]; [Bewick, Thomas] "New and Improved Edition" of this chapbook for young readers, following the first edition of 1824, with substantially different illustrations, including a striking image of Thomas Bewick's "Dalmation" on front wrapper. The book opens with a series of printed alphabets, followed by syllables, short words, and easy passages, many surprisingly punitive: "Sin is the way to the pit. / O let me not die in sin. / No one has joy in the pit. / So do as you are bid." The charm of the book lies in its mix of decorative woodcuts and wood engravings, a survey of popular images available to a provincial printer. Date based on the publisher's advertisements, which include the Northumberland Poll-Book for August 1847. See Thomas Hugo, The Bewick Collector, 458. A bright, near-fine copy of a scarce book. 16mo, measuring 5.5 x 3.5 inches: , 8-35, , pagination inclusive of wrappers. Original green pictorial wrappers, woodcuts and wood engravings throughout text. Publisher's advertisements printed on lower wrapper. Lightest shelfwear.
Prepared to Give this Farmer Aid / With Basket, Barrel, Hook, and SpadeCox, Palmer Original illustration for the story "The Brownies' Good Work" as published in Palmer Cox's 1887 collection The Brownies: Their Book. This dynamic image shows the eager Brownies jumping in to help an injured farmer tend to his fields. The full published caption reads: "To-morrow eve, at that dark hour / When birds grow still in leafy bower / And bats forsake the ruined pile / To exercise their wings awhile, / In yonder shady grove we'll meet, / With all our active force complete, / Prepared to give this farmer aid / With basket, barrel, hook, and spade." Cox's beloved Brownies inspired a long series of bestselling children's books; their adventures were serialized in St. Nicholas and Ladies' Home Journal, and adapted for a Sunday comic strip. In addition, Cox licensed the Brownies to promote all kinds of merchandise, including Kodak's wildly popular Brownie camera, the first mass-produced portable camera, which popularized home photography. The drawings for The Brownies: Their Book are considered among Cox's best, and predate the stereotypical ethnic Brownies which would appear in his later titles. A detailed and highly amusing illustration, created at the height of Cox's talent. Pen and ink on stiff paper, image measuring 9.5 x 7.5 inches, mounted to original card measuring 12.75 x 9.5 inches. Signed in lower right image, abbreviated caption "Continue to aid the Farmer" and notes to printer penciled in lower margin of mount, verso with The Century Co. stamp. Mount toned, outer margins with old cellotape marks and small marginal chips. Laid into contemporary protective paper folder.
Six sets of nineteenth-century bone alphabet tiles[ABC] Six sets of bone alphabet tiles, housed in a purpose-built hardwood box. Sets like these were used to teach young children their ABCs and the very simplest spelling exercises. As John Locke observes, in Some Thoughts Concerning Education: "There may be dice and play-things, with the letters on them, to teach children the alphabet by playing; and twenty other ways may be found, suitable to their particular tempers, to make this kind of learning a sport to them. Thus children may be cozened into a knowledge of the letters; be taught to read without perceiving it to be anything but a sport, and play themselves into that which others are whipped for." This unusually large collection, with extra copies of each of the vowels, and six blank spacers, offers a wider range of compositional play than usual. A remarkable nursery artifact, in fine condition. Boxed set of 179 bone alphabet tiles, comprising six copies of each letter (five of the letter B), plus three additional duplicates of the vowels and the letter Y, and six blanks. Each tile measuring about ¾ of an inch high, hand-carved and engraved with a capital letter in black ink. Housed in contemporary polished hardwood box, measuring 6 x 10 x 1 inches, with sliding lid and 27 fitted internal compartments.
Les Talents ou Les Couronnes de la JeunesseBrès, Jean-Pierre Complete set of eight hand-colored booklets celebrating the talents, or "crowns of youth," to be cultivated by girls: "La Lecture," "L'Ecriture," "Le Chant," "La Danse," "Le Dessin," "La Broderie," "L'Économie Domestique," and "Les Exercises Gymnastiques." Each volume tells the story of a girl who improves her skills, to the gratification of everyone in her life. Prolific children's author Jean-Pierre Brès (1782-1832) was fascinated by the intersection of play and education: he devised a popular "tableau polyoptique," sometimes considered the first myriorama, and is credited with producing the first movable book. These appealing miniature volumes, brightly decorated with engravings of shuttlecocks, paintbrushes, violins, and laurel wreaths, are designed to delight young readers, as well as to instruct: as Eucalie, the heroine of "La Lecture," exclaims: "O la jolie bibliothèque!" Gumuchian 921, "Le Chant" only. OCLC locates holdings, most of partial sets and individual volumes, at BNF, Royal Library Netherlands, National Library Spain, V&A, UCLA, Harvard and Indiana. An exceptional set, with brilliant color. Eight 12mo volumes, measuring 6 x 4 inches: 40. Original glazed white pictorial boards, engraved and hand-colored. Hand-colored frontispieces, tissue-guarded. Set housed in original bisected box, hand-colored pictorial title with "Alph. Giroux et Cie" imprint mounted to lid, ornate gilt foil floral border to edges, remnants of original silk ties. Scattered foxing to text, lightest shelfwear to box.
Harum ScarumCapek, Josef; Jolly, Stephen (translator) First American edition of Harum Scarum, a classic of Czech children's literature, written and illustrated by Josef Capek. During the interwar period, Capek and his younger brother, Karel, were central members of the Czech avant-garde and frequent collaborators: although Karel is often credited with introducing the word "robot" in his 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), Josef was the true originator of the term. While Karel remains the more famous of the brothers, remembered for his plays, novels, and translations, Josef was influential in his own right. He authored several children's books, of which Harum Scarum is the most celebrated. First published in 1929 as The Adventures of Puss and Pup, this 1963 translation introduced an American audience to Capek's playful sensibility and Bohemian folk art-inspired illustrations. Puss and Pup strive to complete daily human tasks, with mixed results. An attempt to mend Pup's trousers falls comically short: "'Good gracious, no!' rejoined the hen. 'Upon my soul, that was a worm, not a piece of string!'" After surviving seven years as a prisoner in various concentration camps, Josef Capek nearly lived to see the end of World War II, but died of pneumonia in Bergen-Belsen just days before its liberation in 1945. A near-fine copy of this imaginative storybook by an important Czech modernist. Single volume, measuring 7.25 x 5 inches: , 6-95. Original yellow pictorial boards stamped in blue and red, color pictorial endpapers, original color pictorial dust jacket. Line drawings, some in color, throughout text. Clipped lower front jacket flap, discreet archival tape repair to verso of jacket spine, small retailer's sticker to verso of final page.
Blindfolded Justice PeekingKovarsky, Anatol Original spot cartoon by one of The New Yorker's most celebrated artists. Published in the January 21, 1956 issue alongside John Updike's short story "Snowing in Greenwich Village," Kovarsky's humorous take on the concept of blind justice is characteristic of his work. He was politically engaged throughout his life, producing numerous editorial cartoons, donating works of political satire to the anti-arms race cause, and collecting political posters. Kovarsky especially delighted in illustrating classical and mythological themes, many of which were included in his first cartoon anthology, Kovarsky's World, published the same year as this drawing. A wry cartoon that is as relevant today as it was sixty-seven years ago. Pen and ink on onion skin paper, image measuring 4.5 x 3 inches on sheet measuring 9.75 x 7 inches, signed at lower right. Original stiff paper mount with toned cellotape at corners and sides, verso bearing The New Yorker department and copyright ink stamps. Penciled crop marks around image, a few penciled printing notes to verso.
Swift, Swift the Great Twin Brethren Came Spurring from the EastAult, Norman Original watercolor by Norman Ault for his 1911 illustrated edition of Thomas Babington Macaulay's The Lays of Ancient Rome, first published in 1842. A scholar of poetry as well as an illustrator, Ault brought a deep understanding to Macaulay's verse history, retellings of heroic episodes of classical history recited by generations of British schoolchildren. In this dramatic illustration for "The Battle of the Lake Regillus," Ault depicts the armored twin gods Castor and Pollux tearing through the sky on their celestial horses: "Up to the Great Twin Brethren / We keep this solemn feast. / Swift, swift the Great twin Brethren / Came spurring from the east." Castor and Pollux would eventually be transformed by Zeus into the constellation Gemini, serving as patrons to sailors, to whom they appeared as St. Elmo's Fire. A captivating image of the Dioscuri by a great historical illustrator. Watercolor and graphite on board, image measuring 12 x 9 inches, board 13.75 x 9.75 inches. Tipped to mat, 16 x 12 inches.
Achilles’ SongDuncan, Robert First edition of San Francisco poet Robert Duncan's Achilles' Song, in which the Greek hero imagines his mother, the sea nymph Thetis, calling him away from Troy: "Thetis, then, / my mother, has promised me / the mirage of a boat, a vehicle / of water within the water, / and my soul would return from / the trials of its human state, / from the long siege." This is one of 26 copies lettered A to Z, each with an original illustration by the author, out of a total of 126 signed copies. Achilles' Song was issued as Number 7 in the Phoenix Bookshop Oblong Octavo Series, a twenty-volume series that included poems by Marianne Moore, W.H. Auden, Amiri Baraka, Gregory Corso, and Louis Zukofsky. A fine copy, with an original drawing by Robert Duncan. Oblong volume, measuring 5 x 7 inches: . Side-stitched olive green wrappers in integral pictorial dust jacket printed in green and black. Original color frontispiece drawing by Duncan executed in pen and crayon. Hand-lettered "B" and signed by Duncan at colophon.
Movies, the Desperate Art” in The Berkley Book of Modern Writing, Number 3: https://rarebookinsider.com/rare-books/movies-the-desperate-art-in-the-berkley-book-of-modern-writing-number-3/