First edition, signed by David MametNew York, 1976
FIRST EDITION, hardcover issue, SIGNED BY MAMET on dedication page. Winner of the 1976 Obie Award and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play of 1977; made into a 1996 film starring Dustin Hoffman. Octavo, original yellow cloth, original dust jacket; custom half-morocco box. A FINE COPY.
editio princeps of the Agamemnon[Geneva]: , 1557
FIRST COMPLETE EDITION OF AESCHYLUS. With the editio princeps of the Agamemnon. “An excellent and beautiful edition… It is a much more valuable impression than either of its precursors.. what enhances the value of the edition is, that the Agamemnon is published in it, for the first time, complete.” -Dibdin, An introduction to the knowledge of rare and valuable editions of the Greek and Latin Classics Quarto. Early full tree-calf skillfully rebacked, spine in six compartments, red leather label. Gilt dentelles, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Text generallly clean throughout; repaired tear to the lower portion of title page. A handsome copy of an important and distinguished edition.
FIRST UK EDITION, translated from the French by Beckett. “Voted the most significant English language play of the 20th century in a British Royal National Theatre poll of 800 playwrights, actors, directors and journalists… Beckett’s naked play about two tramps waiting for Godot has tapped into our 20th-century public consciousness. It seems to express our deepest fears and our deepest knowledge of ourselves and our predicament” (Norman Berlin). “The first production of Beckett’s own English translation, directed by Peter Hall, was staged at the Arts Theatre Club in London in August 1955. Kenneth Tynan’s and Harold Hobson’s reviews made it into an intellectual hit which has since been regarded as having transformed the British stage” (Dictionary of National Biography). Preceded by the first edition (1952, in French) and the first American edition (1954). Octavo, original mustard cloth, original dust jacket. Book near-fine with slight lean; dust jacket with light edgewear, toning to top of rear panel.
Signed by Walt WhitmanWashington, D.C. , 1872
FIRST EDITION, SIGNED BY WHITMAN. “As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free”, before becoming the final addition to the final edition of Leaves of Grass, was published independently by Whitman in 1872, twenty years before the poet’s death. The title poem was written as a commencement for Dartmouth College as one of the few pieces Whitman recited publicly. With large Whitman signature across title page. Octavo, original dark green cloth; custom half-morocco box. Minor discoloration to pastedowns. a little fraying to spine ends and corners.
First edition of Robert Frost's first volume of poetry, A FINE COPYLondon, 1913
FIRST EDITION, in the rare first-issue binding (“binding A”), of Robert Frost’s first book of poetry. “By 1911 Frost was fighting against discouragement. Poetry had always been considered a young person’s game, but Frost, who was nearly 40 years old, had not published a single book of poems and had seen just a handful appear in magazines. In 1911 ownership of the Derry farm passed to Frost. A momentous decision was made: to sell the farm and use the proceeds to make a radical new start in London, where publishers were perceived to be more receptive to new talent. Accordingly, in August 1912 the Frost family sailed across the Atlantic to England. Frost carried with him sheaves of verses he had written but not gotten into print. English publishers in London did indeed prove more receptive to innovative verse, and, through his own vigorous efforts and those of the expatriate American poet Ezra Pound, Frost within a year had published A Boy’s Will (1913). From this first book, such poems as ‘Storm Fear,’ ‘Mowing,’ and ‘The Tuft of Flowers’ have remained standard anthology pieces” (Britannica). Octavo, original bronzed brown cloth with upper cover title in gilt. A fine copy. RARE.
First Edition of Beckett's En attendant Godot, SIGNED BY BECKETTParis: , 1952
First edition SIGNED BY SAMUEL BECKETT. Octavo, original wrappers; custom half-leather box. Text in French. Some browning and rubbing to spine.
Allen Ginsberg's Howl, an exceptionally important association copySan Francisco, 1956
FIRST EDITION, one of only 100 copies, SIGNED AND INSCRIBED BY GINSBERG. Signed and inscribed on title: “for Michael Rumaker / Allen Ginsberg / this historic particular copy of Howl which his eyes read for / Black Mt Review #7 / Signed White Plains N.Y. / March 12, 1976”. Ginsberg also added 20 “ah”‘s along the bottom of the page. With large flower and sun drawing by Ginsberg across title. Rumaker’s ownership signature at top of page. WITH: The original issue of The Black Mountain Review #7 in which Rumaker’s review of “Howl” appears. “In October 1955 Ginsberg read the first part of his new poem [‘Howl’] in public for the first time to tumultuous applause at the Six Gallery reading in San Francisco with the local poets Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, and Philip LaMantia. Journalists were quick to herald the reading as a landmark event in American poetry, the birth of what they labeled the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who ran the City Lights Book Store and the City Lights publishing house in North Beach, sent Ginsberg a telegram echoing Ralph Waldo Emerson’s response to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass: ‘I greet you at the beginning of a great career. When do I get the manuscript?’ Later Ginsberg wrote that ‘in publishing ‘Howl,’ I was curious to leave behind after my generation an emotional time bomb that would continue exploding in U.S. consciousness in case our military-industrial-nationalist complex solidified into a repressive police bureaucracy’ (Original Draft Facsimile Howl, p. xii). “Early in the following year Howl and Other Poems was published with an introduction by William Carlos Williams as number four in the City Lights Pocket Poets Series. In May 1956 copies of the small black-and-white stapled paperback were seized by the San Francisco police, who arrested Ferlinghetti and Shigeyoshi Murao, his shop manager, and charged them with publishing and selling an obscene and indecent book. The American Civil Liberties Union took up the defense of Ginsberg’s poem in a highly publicized obscenity trial in San Francisco, which concluded in October 1957 when Judge Clayton Horn ruled that Howl had redeeming social value” (American National Biography). Introduction by William Carlos Williams. The Pocket Poets Series: Number Four. Small quarto, original printed wrappers; custom cloth box. Small quarto, original wrappers; custom box housing both Howl and The Black Mountain Review. A little toning to spine (as usual) and a small abrasion to rear cover. Overall an exceptionally fresh, clean beautiful copy.
Signed by W.B. Yeats, 1/1000 copiesLondon, 1922
SIGNED LIMITED FIRST EDITION of Yeats’s autobiographical work; one of only 1000 copies signed by Yeats. “Looking back from 1922, [Yeats] titled his autobiographical account of the decade of the 1890s The Trembling of the Veil. He recalled that Mallarme has said that ‘his epoch was troubled by the trembling of the veil of the Temple,’ and that ‘as those words were still true, during the years of my life described in this book,’ he had named it accordingly” (The Cambridge Companion to W.B. Yeats). Octavo, original half parchment over light green boards; original dust jacket. Dust jacket spine with light wear at the spine (slightly affecting label) and minor toning. A FINE COPY in the scarce original dust jacket.
Signed and inscribed by Allen GinsbergSan Francisco, 1983
SIGNED AND INSCRIBED BY ALLEN GINSBERG, WITH SUNFLOWER DRAWING. A later printing of Ginsberg’s masterpiece. “In October 1955 Ginsberg read the first part of his new poem [‘Howl’] in public for the first time to tumultuous applause at the Six Gallery reading in San Francisco with the local poets Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, and Philip LaMantia. Journalists were quick to herald the reading as a landmark event in American poetry, the birth of what they labeled the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who ran the City Lights Book Store and the City Lights publishing house in North Beach, sent Ginsberg a telegram echoing Ralph Waldo Emerson’s response to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass: ‘I greet you at the beginning of a great career. When do I get the manuscript?’ Later Ginsberg wrote that ‘in publishing ‘Howl,’ I was curious to leave behind after my generation an emotional time bomb that would continue exploding in U.S. consciousness in case our military-industrial-nationalist complex solidified into a repressive police bureaucracy’ (Original Draft Facsimile Howl, p. xii). Very nearly fine with only the most trivial wear to extremities.
1/250 copies from the Kelmscott PressHammersmith: , 1895
FIRST KELMSCOTT PRESS EDITION, ONE OF ONLY 250 COPIES ON PAPER (from an edition of 258). The Kelmscott Press “was far and away the most splendid of all private presses… quite without a peer.” -Colin Franklin, The Private Presses Beautifully printed in red and black in Golden type. Exquisitely illustrated by William Morris with woodcut title page, first page (borders), and decorated initials throughout. Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1895 [issued 1896]. Small quarto, original limp vellum, yapp edges, gilt spine title, green silk ties; uncut. One tie loose, else fine.