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A RARE BOOK IS A GREAT INVESTMENT
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London: The Hogarth Press, 1925. 1st Edition. Cloth Bound. Good Plus. PUBLISHING DETAILS: True first edition, first printing of Virginia Woolf's great novel, published by her and husband Leonard at their Hogarth Press, London, in 1925. 293 pages. Size; 19 x 13 cms (7.5" x 5"). Weight; 410g (14 ounces). CONDITION: I would rate this as good plus. It is one of a set of 4 Virginia Woolf novels trimmed and rebound by The Cambridge Union Society. The plain grey cloth covers are clean and sound and the binding is tight and secure. The text is mostly clean but a number of pages do have marks and pp. 63-66 and 207/8 are reinforced with clear archival tape (see photos). The Cambridge Union Society's stamp is on the title page and back page. A still neat, very rare and collectible first edition, competitively priced to allow for the rebind. THE NOVEL: 'Mrs Dalloway' details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway in post-World War I England. It is one of Woolf's best-known novels. Created from two short stories, "Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street" and the unfinished "The Prime Minister", the novel's story is of Clarissa's preparations for a party of which she is to be hostess. With the interior perspective of the novel, the story travels forwards and back in time and in and out of the characters' minds to construct an image of Clarissa's life and of the inter-war social structure. In 2005 the novel was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the one hundred best English-language novels from 1923 onwards. (Source: Wikipedia.) (Book ref. 001351)
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London: Duckworth, 1919. 1st Edition. Cloth Bound. Very Good. PUBLISHING DETAILS: True first edition of Virginia Woolf's second and longest novel, published by her half-brother Gerald's publishing house, Duckworth & Company of London in 1919. 538 pages. Size; 18 x 13 cms (7" x 5"). Weight; 530g (19 ozs). CONDITION; I would rate this as very good. It is one of a set of 4 Virginia Woolf novels trimmed and rebound by The Cambridge Union Society. The plain grey cloth covers are clean and sound and the binding is tight and secure save for a little loosening at one or two inner signatures. The text is mostly clean, a little age toned and with the odd mark or foxing spot. The Society's stamp is on the title page and back page. A still neat, very rare and collectible first edition, competitively priced to allow for the rebind. THE NOVEL: 'Night and Day' is a comic novel of manners concerning five young people struggling with issues of love and work, engagement and marriage, in London in the early years of the twentieth century, as the Edwardian generation Virginia herself belonged to sought to escape the social and moral strictures of their parent's Victorian world. It is the most linear and 'plotted' of Woolf's novels, developing its thirty-four chapters smoothly as the characters move toward resolution. In describing their struggles to make new social norms, Woolf was also caught up in the problem of how to forge new narrative structures with which to represent that new world. (Book ref. 001350)
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Edinburgh: Canongate, 1981. Illustrated by Alasdair Gray. 1st Edition. Original Cloth. Very Good Minus. PUBLISHING DETAILS: True first edition of Alasdair Gray's masterpiece, published by Canongate of Edinburgh in 1981. 560 pages. Size; 24 x 16 cms (9.5" x 6"). Weight; 995g (2 pounds 3 ounces). CONDITION: I would rate the book as very good minus and the dustjacket as very good. The original black cloth covers, with gilt titling, are generally clean and sound, with very slight bruising to the extremities. The binding remains tight and secure throughout. The text is generally clean, bright and free from foxing but some pages between 160-176 do have marks. The book is ex-library, with stamps to the prelims and the vestiges of a label to the front free endpaper. The original dustjacket (with price £7.95) is clean and entire, with slight wear to the top and tail of the spine and a small tear to the fore-edge (see photo). It is now protected in a clear, removable Brodart sleeve. All in all, this is a tidy copy of a much sought-after first edition, offered at a price to suit the collector on a budget. THE NOVEL: From the dustjacket: 'Through Lanark's adventures - grotesque, nightmarish, visionary, touching - and the rich range of characters he meets, the novel builds up a remarkable picture of the ills and hopes of modern society.' Lanark, subtitled A Life in Four Books, is the first novel of Scottish writer Alasdair Gray. Written over a period of almost ten years, it combines realist and dystopian fantasy depictions of his home city of Glasgow. Its publication prompted Anthony Burgess to call Gray "the best Scottish novelist since Walter Scott". The book, still his best known, has since won the Saltire Society Book of the Year and David Niven awards, and has become a cult classic. In 2008, The Guardian heralded Lanark as "one of the landmarks of 20th-century fiction." (Book ref. 001348)
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London: John Murray, 1877. Illustrated by G B Sowerby. 2nd Edition. Original Cloth. Very Good. PUBLISHING DETAILS: First printing of the second edition (revised) of Darwin's first book of evidence in support of 'Origin of Species'. Published by John Murray of London in 1877. 300 pages plus 32pp publisher's catalogue dated January 1876. Size; 19 x 13 cms (7.5" x 5"). Weight; 635g (22 ounces). CONDITION: I would rate this as very good. The original green cloth covers, with gilt titling to the spine, are generally sound and clean, with a little bruising to the extremities and a light scratch on the front (see photo). The binding remains generally tight and secure throughout. The text and wood engraving illustrations are generally clean, bright and free from foxing with just one or two freckles on the odd early page. There are 2 newspaper cuttings pasted to the prelims, which have offset on to the half title and title pages (see photo). All in all, this is a tidy early edition of a collectible Darwin title - at a price several hundred pounds below that of a first edition. THE BOOK: From Darwin's autobiography: 'On May 15th, 1862, my little book on the Fertilisation of Orchids, which cost me ten months' work, was published: most of the facts had been slowly accumulated during several previous years. During the summer of 1839, and, I believe, during the previous summer, I was led to attend to the cross-fertilisation of flowers by the aid of insects, from having come to the conclusion in my speculations on the origin of species, that crossing played an important part in keeping specific forms constant. I attended to the subject more or less during every subsequent summer....For some years before 1862 I had specially attended to the fertilisation of our British orchids; and it seemed to me the best plan to prepare as complete a treatise on this group of plants as well as I could, rather than to utilise the great mass of matter which I had slowly collected with respect to other plants.' Freeman on the second edition: 'In 1869, Darwin published a paper (No. 1748) which is an English version of some matter which was prepared for insertion in the first French translation of the book. This matter was incorporated in the second English edition of 1877. The text of this was considerably altered and the inserted Figure I is now incorporated. Its title is condensed by the omission of On and British and Foreign as well as the last phrase.' (Book ref. 001347)
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London: J M Dent, 1892. Illustrated by William C Cooke. First Thus. Original Cloth. Very Good. PUBLISHING DETAILS: Two volume 1892 edition of Jane Austen's classic, this being part of the ten volume set of her works published by J M Dent of London, with illustrations by William C Cooke. 401 pages, uncut to fore-edge and foot. Size; 18 x 12 cms (7" x 5"). Weight; 485g (17 ounces). CONDITION: I would rate these as very good. The original green cloth covers, with gilt titling, are generally clean and sound, with bumped corners and spine ends. The gilt is dulled in places (see photo). The binding remains tight and secure throughout. The text and illustrations are clean, bright and free from foxing. Tissue guards to the illustrations are present but sometimes loose. There is offsetting to the free endpapers only and a stylishly penned 1892 inscription to volume I. Altogether, this is a handsome set of a collectible 19th century edition. THE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London. Though the story is set at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of "most loved books". It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen's memorable characters or themes. To date, the book has sold some 20 million copies worldwide. (Book ref. 001345)
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London: Hamish Hamilton, 1948. First UK Edition. Original Cloth. Very Good. PUBLISHING DETAILS: First UK edition of Ray Bradbury's first book, published by Hamish Hamilton of London in 1948. 20 short stories in 271 pages. Size; 19 x 13 cms (7.5" x 5"). Weight; 195g (7 ounces). CONDITION: I would rate the book as very good and the facsimile dustjacket is mint. The book's original dark green cloth covers, with silver spine titling, are generally clean and sound, with slightly bruised corners and a little fading to the spine (see photo). The binding remains tight and secure throughout. The text is clean, bright and free from foxing. There is an owner's name and date penned at the front pastedown and a torn corner to the back free endpaper. The facsimile dustjacket is professionally produced and protected in a clear, removable sleeve. Altogether, this is a tidy example of a sought after first edition. THE BOOK: The stories included in the UK edition are: 'The Homecoming', 'Skeleton', 'The Jar', 'The Lake', 'The Tombstone', 'The Smiling People', 'The Emissary', 'The Traveller', 'The Small Assassin', 'The Crowd', 'The Handler', 'Let's Play Poison', 'Uncle Einar', 'The Wind', 'The Night', 'There Was An Old Woman', 'The Dead Man', 'The Man Upstairs', 'Cistern' and 'The Next In Line'. REVIEW: 'Once to be titled The Child's Garden of Terrors, Bradbury's first story collection rolls into town, spinning stardust and cobwebs in its wondrous wake. Obsessed with death, old age and a longing to retain the eternal child in all of us, Bradbury once described himself as the "quasi god-son of Edgar Allan Poe," though Poe lacked the gift of humor that has helped shape Bradbury's seductive shadows. "You are only eight years old, you know little of death, fear, or dread," writes Bradbury in "The Night" as he powerfully encapsulates in a neat eight pages a child's first discovery of the unknown. Other standouts include the scary carnival story, "The Jar"; the Elliot family tales, "Uncle Einar," "The Homecoming" and "The Traveler"; "The Small Assassin," a sinister story far more frightening than Rosemary's Baby; and the harrowing "The Next in Line". - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (USA). (Book ref. 001343)
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London: Eyre & Spottiswood, 1950. Illustrated by Mervyn Peake (dustjacket & title page). 1st Edition. Original Cloth. Very Good. PUBLISHING DETAILS: True first state first edition, with 15s. price on the dustjacket flap, published by Eyre & Spottiswoode of London in 1950. 454 pages. Size: 23 x 15 cms (9" x 6"). Weight; 635g (1 pound, 6 ounces). CONDITION: I would rate the book as very good and the original dustjacket as very good minus. The original red cloth covers are generally clean and sound, save for a small mark on the back and minor wear to the extremities. The binding is tight throughout. Text is clean, bright and free from foxing. There are a few light foxing spots to the endpapers but no inscriptions or labels. The dustjacket has been repaired internally. It is entire save for slight losses at the corners and top of the spine and a tear to the spine (see photo). It is now protected in a clear, removable archive sleeve. All in all, this is a very tidy copy of a much sought after first edition. THE NOVEL: Gormenghast is the second book in Peake's Gormenghast series of novels. It follows the story of Titus from the age of seven to seventeen. As the novel opens Titus, as the 77th earl and lord of Gormenghast, dreads the life of pre-ordained ritual that str etches before him. Barquentine as Master of Ritual, and Steerpike his apprentice, are seen by Titus as the embodiment of all he wants to rebel against. From the sleeve-notes: 'Doom lies over Gormenghast and the suspense holds the reader spellbound as the villain, the fugitive and the avenging forces are swung into play, but the story has strange moments of inconsequence, of absurdity, of jackdaw laughter; and more than this, there are the cross currents of sympathy and love that range from the ludicrous to the ill-starred tenderness of Fuchsia, Titus's sister, and of Titus's own fantastic, abortive love. It is a book that is more of the imagination than of fantasy, for all its strangeness, for the characters are alive: there is blood in their veins; and their roots are in a world that all will recognise, a world of human love and human pain, of ambition, absurdity and fear, of pathos and delight. This is like no other novel in English. Its handling of language is sumptuous, the painter's visual eye and the poet's piercing insight combine in a tour de force which no other writer of our time has attempted.' (Book ref. 001342)
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London: Jonathan Cape, 1973. Illustrated by Bill Botten (Dustjacket). 1st Edition. Hardcover. Very Good. PUBLISHING DETAILS: First edition of Ballard's cult novel, published by Jonathan Cape of London in 1973. 224 pages. Size; 20 x 13 cms (8" x 5"). Weight; 340g (12 ounces). CONDITION: I would rate the book and dustjacket as very good. The book is a library rebind in green simulated leather, with clean, sound covers (see photo). The binding remains tight and secure throughout. The text is mostly clean and bright but there are marks to a few pages. There are library stamps to the copyright and last pages but no labels. There is a new front endpaper. The original dustjacket is entire and clean but with tape residue marks to the inside and on the turn-in flaps and just slightly faded to the spine. It is now protected in a clear, removable sleeve. All in all, a tidy copy of this rare and much sought after first edition that looks very well in its original dustjacket, greatly reduced to allow for the rebinding. THE NOVEL: Crash is a story about symphorophilia or car-crash sexual fetishism: its protagonists become sexually aroused by staging and participating in real car-crashes. The story is told through the eyes of narrator James Ballard, named after the author himself, but it centers on the sinister figure of Dr. Robert Vaughan, a "former TV-scientist, turned nightmare angel of the expressways". Ballard meets Vaughan after being involved in a car accident himself near London Airport. Gathering around Vaughan is a group of alienated people, all of them former crash-victims, who follow him in his pursuit to re-enact the crashes of celebrities, and experience what the narrator calls "a new sexuality, born from a perverse technology". Vaughan's ultimate fantasy is to die in a head-on collision with movie star Elizabeth Taylor. It was a highly controversial novel: famously one publisher's reader returned the verdict "This author is beyond psychiatric help. Do Not Publish!" The novel was made into a movie of the same name in 1996 by David Cronenberg. An earlier, apparently unauthorized adaptation called Nightmare Angel was filmed in 1986 by Susan Emerling and Zoe Beloff. (Source: Wikipedia) (Book ref. 001338)
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London: David Nutt, 1889. Illustrated by Walter Crane, Jacomb Hood. 2nd Edition. Paper covered boards. Fair. PUBLISHING DETAILS: Second edition, published by David Nutt of London in 1889, following the first of just 1000 copies in 1888. 116 pages with illustrations and vignettes by Walter Crane and Jacomb Hood. Size; 22 x 17 cms (9" x 6.5"). Weight; 525g (1 pound 3 ounces). CONDITION: I would rate this book as fair only. The paper covered board covers are worn and age-soiled, with bruised corners and surface splits at the spine (see photo). The binding, however, is holding firm, with just a little easing at some signatures and loosening of the frontispiece. The text and illustrations are bright but quite finger-marked to many pages (see photos). The text is free from foxing save for the last few page and endpapers. A basically sound, but well worn second edition of a much sought after title, greatly discounted for the collector on a budget. THE STORIES: The Happy Prince and Other Tales is a collection of stories for children by Oscar Wilde first published in May 1888. It contains five stories, "The Happy Prince", "The Nightingale and the Rose", "The Selfish Giant", "The Devoted Friend", and "The Remarkable Rocket". "The Happy Prince" - In a town where a lot of poor people suffer, a swallow who was left behind after his flock flew off to Egypt for the winter meets the statue of the late "Happy Prince", who in reality has never experienced true happiness..... "The Nightingale and the Rose" - A nightingale overhears a student complaining that his professor's daughter will not dance with him, as he is unable to give her a red rose..... "The Selfish Giant" - The Selfish Giant owns a beautiful garden which has 12 peach trees and lovely fragrant flowers, in which children love to play after returning from the school. On the giant's return from seven years visiting his friend the Cornish Ogre, he takes offense at the children and builds a wall to keep them out..... "The Devoted Friend" - Hans is a gardener, the devoted friend of a rich miller. On the basis of this friendship, the miller helps himself to flowers from Hans' garden, and promises to give Hans an old, broken wheelbarrow, to replace one that Hans was forced to sell so that he could buy food. Against this promise, the miller compels Hans to run a series of arduous errands for him..... "The Remarkable Rocket" - This story concerns a firework, who is one of many to be let off at the wedding of a prince and princess. The rocket is extremely pompous and self-important, and denigrates all the other fireworks, eventually bursting into tears to demonstrate his "sensitivity"..... (source: Wikipedia) (Book ref. 001337)
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London: The Harvill Press, 2005. 1st Edition. Hardcover in slipcase. Near Fine. PUBLISHING DETAILS: A signed, limited first edition of Murakami's great novel, this being number 716 of 1000, published by The Harvill Press of london in 2005. 505 pages. Size; 23 x 15 cms (9" x 6"). Weight; 1.02 kilos (2.25 pounds). CONDITION: I would rate the book as near fine and the slipcase as fine. Other than a small dint at the rear and a small area of light marking to the book spine, they are pristine. Murakami has signed in Japanese on an official bookplate affixed to the limited edition page. THE NOVEL: 'Kafka on the Shore' demonstrates Murakami's typical blend of popular culture, quotidian detail, magical realism, suspense, humor, an involved and at times confusing plot, and potent sexuality. The power and beauty of music as a communicative medium is a central theme of the novel. Among other prominent themes are the virtues of self-sufficiency and efficiency, the relation of dreams and reality, the specter of the heritage of World War II, the threat of fate, the uncertain grip of prophecy, and the power of nature. All this in one novel! John Updike described it as a "real page-turner, as well as an insistently metaphysical mind-bender." The novel has received consistently positive reviews and critical acclaim, including a spot on the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2005. In 2006, Murakami became the sixth recipient of the Franz Kafka Award for this novel and has been touted as a possible candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature. (Book ref. 001335)
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St Helens: Ted Smart/Harvill Press, 2000. First Thus. Softcovers in slipcase. As New. PUBLISHING DETAILS: First thus edition of the first English translation, in two small volumes in a gold clamshell slipcase published by Ted Smart in 2000. 494 pages. Size (each book); 15 x 10 cms (6" x 4"); Weight (in slipcase); 555g (20 ounces). CONDITION: I would rate the books as mint and the slipcase as near fine. The books are pristine and appear unread. The slipcase is fine save for one or two dints to the edges (see photos). THE NOVEL: When it was published in Japan, 'Norwegian Wood' quickly attained cult status, making its author a national celebrity, selling more than four million copies and captured the imagination of a nation. It has since extended its influence throughout the English-speaking world and introduced millions of new readers to the wonderful Murakami. In 2006, Murakami became the sixth recipient of the Franz Kafka Award from the Czech Republic. In 2004 and 2005, the recipient of the Kafka award went on to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, and Murakami too has been touted as a possible candidate for the prize. He is considered by critics an important figure in postmodern literature and The Guardian praised him as one of the "world's greatest living novelists." (Book ref. 001334)
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London: Harvill Secker, 2006. 1st Edition. Hardcover in slipcase. As New. PUBLISHING DETAILS: First impression of the first English language UK edition of this fine collection of Murakami short stories. A limited edition of 1000 copies signed by the author, this being number 821, published by Harvill Secker of London in 2006. 334 pages. Size; 24 x 16 cms (9.5" x 6"). Weight; 870g (just under 2 pounds). CONDITION: I would rate the book and slipcase as mint. They are as new and the book appears unread. Murakami has signed a bookplate which is affixed to the half-title page (see photo). THE BOOK: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a collection of short stories by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The stories contained in the book were written between 1981 and 2005. Around half the stories were translated by Philip Gabriel with the other half being translated by Jay Rubin. In this collection, the stories alternate between the two translators for the most part. Murakami considers this to be his first real collection of short stories since The Elephant Vanishes (1993) In the introductory notes to the English language edition of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, Murakami declares, "I find writing novels a challenge, writing stories a joy. If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is more like planting a garden." This elegant analogy serves to give the reader some idea of what awaits. (source: Wikipedia) REVIEW: 'Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a handsome volume of prose, every bit as substantial as a novel, bringing together 25 stories written over three decades and augmenting them with an introduction from the author. In this Murakami mentions the fact that although he sees himself as a novelist, many of his readers prefer his short stories. The preference is understandable. Murakami's novels are meandering things, full of delights, but often frustrating in their combination of brilliance and laxity, and with a surrealism that can become tiresome over the long haul. His short stories contain the same abundance of brilliance, but also have a balance and poise that allow his writing to shine. The stories in this collection have all of Murakami's characteristic strangeness, but they combine the strangeness with structure. They show him at his very best; not as a cult novelist but as a really first-rate writer of short fiction.' - The Guardian. (Book ref. 001327)
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New York: Harcourt, Brace. Illustrated by Vanessa Bell (dustjacket). Original Cloth. Very Good. CONDITION: Clean covers and tight binding. Clean text with damp marking to fore-edge of type block but not showing on pages. Complete, clipped dustjacket with some age darkening (see photo); now protected in a clear, removable sleeve. THE NOVEL: The novel follows its six narrators from childhood through adulthood. Woolf is concerned with the individual consciousness and the ways in which multiple consciousnesses can weave together. The difficulty of assigning genre to this novel is complicated by the fact that 'The Waves' blurs distinctions between prose and poetry, allowing the novel to flow between six not dissimilar interior monologues. The book similarly breaks down boundaries between people, and Woolf herself wrote in her Diary that the six were not meant to be separate "characters" at all, but rather facets of consciousness illuminating a sense of continuity. Even the name "novel" may not accurately describe the complex form of 'The Waves'. Woolf herself called it not a novel but a "playpoem." The author and critic Becky Nordensten has described 'The Waves' as a "beautiful novel with language and imagery unmatched in 20th Century English literature." (Source: Wikipedia) (Book ref. 001326)
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London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1959. First UK Edition. Original Cloth. Very Good. CONDITION: Clean text and tight binding. Slight spine lean. THE NOVEL: The book is internationally famous for its innovative style and infamous for its controversial subject: the protagonist and unreliable narrator, middle-aged Humbert Humbert, who becomes obsessed and sexually involved with a 12-year-old girl named Dolores Haze. After its publication, Nabokov's Lolita attained a classic status, becoming one of the best-known and most controversial examples of 20th century literature. The name "Lolita" has entered pop culture to describe a sexually precocious girl. The novel was adapted to film by Stanley Kubrick in 1962, and again in 1997 by Adrian Lyne. Lolita is included on Time's list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. It is fourth on the Modern Library's 1998 list of the 100 (Book ref. 001325)
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Orpington: George Allen, 1891. 3rd Edition. Buckram. Very Good. Full title: The Two Paths: Being Lectures on Art and its Application to Decoration and Manufacture. Delivered in 1858-9. (Book ref. 001324)
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London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1932. Illustrated by Moreton Sale. 1st Edition. Pictorial Cover. Very Good. With 4 colour plates and including stories from Derek McCulloch (Uncle Mac) and Norman Hunter (Professor Branestawm). (Book ref. 001323)
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Leicester: Edgar Backus. Illustrated by Anthony Rado. Decorative Cloth. Very Good. THE BOOK: The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his translation of a selection of poems, originally written in Persian and numbering about a thousand, attributed to Omar Khayyám (1048-1131), a Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer. A ruba'i is a two-line stanza with two parts per line, hence the word rubáiyát (derived from the Arabic language root for "four"), meaning "quatrains". (Source: Wikipedia) (Book ref. 001322)
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London: William Collins, 1944. 1st Edition. Pictorial Cover. Very Good. CONDITION: The text, 4 colour and 8 sepia plates and 20 b/w photos, are all present and clean with faint foxing just to the endpapers. Binding is secure, though with some inner cracking. The pictorial board covers are clean, though with some fading, and entire, save for loss to the spine (see photo). Now protected in a clear, removable sleeve. (Book ref. 001321)
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Leicester: Edgar Backus. Illustrated by Anthony Rado. Decorative Cloth. Very Good. CONDITION: Text and the eight colour illustrations are clean and bright. Binding tight. Neatly penned inscription on front free endpaper. Clipped dustjacket is almost entire with just a slight loss at base of spine and tears at the corners (see photo) - it is now in a protective, clear sleeve. THE BOOK: The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his translation of a selection of poems, originally written in Persian and numbering about a thousand, attributed to Omar Khayyám (1048-1131), a Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer. A ruba'i is a two-line stanza with two parts per line, hence the word rubáiyát (derived from the Arabic language root for "four"), meaning "quatrains". (Source: Wikipedia) (Book ref. 001320)
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London: Faber and Faber, 2002. First Thus. Mass Market Paperback. Near Fine. CONDITION: The book is like new, save for age-toning to the page edges. THE NOVEL: In the late 16th century, during the final years of the reign of Ottoman Sultan Murat III, a great work is commissioned, a book celebrating the Sultan's life. The work is conducted in secret, to the ignorance of the artists involved, for fear of a violent religious reaction to the European style of the illuminations in the book. An artist goes, missing, feared dead, and Black, a painter who has been in a self-enforced exile because of spurned love, returns to help his former Master investigate the disappearance. Written in the first person, with multiple narratives, this is a book full of unreliable witnesses, and as the various stories of the narrators unfold, the truth of the disappearance slowly emerges. (Book ref. 001319)