|Our offerings focus on interesting American and British first editions from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, mostly fiction but some history, travel, and art when we run across a compelling book.
Below you will find a small selection of highlights. You can buy one by calling us at 212 289 2345 or through the website ABE.com by simply clicking on the title displayed below.
The Leopard | by Giuseppe de Lampedusa ($300)
This Italian classic, set in the mid-nineteenth century, describes the author’s Sicilian great grandfather, the Prince of Salina, at the point of decline of his and the traditional Italian way of life. It has become one of the most popular books of Italian literature. A fine film was made from the book in 1963, starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale, and Alain Delon, which was awarded the Palm d’Or at Cannes.
(London: Collins and Harvill, 1960. First edition. Translated from the Italian by Archibald Colquhoun. A near-fine copy bound in green cloth with gilt spine lettering in a fine, bright, unfaded wraparound dustwrapper designed by Hans Tisdall. There is light foxing to the text block, otherwise it is in splendid condition.)
A sparkling collection of essays on major literary figures and other topics issued to great acclaim by Woolf in two series, in 1925 and 1935–a total of over 600 pages. Woolf published these essays in all the leading literary journals and they are still popular today. There is an additional essay not found in the first printings.
(New York: Harcourt Brace, 1948. First edition in a combined volume, one of 2500 issued. A near-fine copy in purple cloth with immaculate gilt spine lettering, square and tight, with a previous owner’s bookplate and label on a front endpaper, in a near-fine, bright dustwrapper designed by Vanessa Bell, Woolf’s sister, with slight tanning and several tiny stains to the spine as well as a minute loss of material at the bottom of the spine.
(Signed by Tom Wolfe)
An As-New, limited edition celebrating Tom Wolfe’s stunning 1968 opus which reported on Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters as they cruised across the country on their “Transcontinental Bus Tour” on the way to the World’s Fair. In this abridged edition of the original, Taschen has included a magnificent collection of materials relating to the LSD-laced journey. Printed in letterpress with facsimile reproductions of Wolfe’s manuscript pages, handbills, Ken Kesey’s jailhouse journals and representations of underground magazines of the period. Lawrence Schiller and Ted Streshinsky, who covered the events recounted here for Life magazine and The New York Herald Tribune, have contributed wonderful photographs of the period, some in color, plus an introduction.
The book, with a silk-screened cover, is contained in an embossed paper case still in its original shrink-wrap. It is approx 9 ½” X 13″. Tom Wolfe has signed each copy on a front flyleaf.
(London: Taschen, 2016. Edition limited to 1,968 copies worldwide.)
Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut | (Signed, $250)
The author is best known for his classic Slaughterhouse-Five, yet he was a prolific author with over a dozen novels in print.This is his eleventh novel in which he questions the purpose of the human brain from an evolutionary perspective. The title is both a reference to the islands on which part of the story plays out, and a tribute to Charles Darwin whose theory Vonnegut depended on to reach his own conclusions. It’s riveting.
(New York: Delacorte/Seymour Lawrence, 1985. First edition. A near-fine copy in quarter-backed black cloth and gray boards with silver lettering and with foxing to the bottom of the text block in a fine pictorial dustwrapper. Vonnegut has signed this copy on the title page.)
Naked in Garden Hills by Harry Crews | (Inscribed to author John Williams, $250)
Crews’ highly regarded second novel about a corrupt –and surreal–town in Florida full of odd and intensely real characters. This copy was owned by National Book Award-winner John Williams (Augustus, Stoner, Butcher’s Crossing). Crews has written on the half title page: “Bread Loaf, 1969. For John Williams, good friend, may all that has begun in these days go on into all the days ahead. With affection, Harry.”
(New York: Morrow, 1969. First edition, second-state with light green binding and reviews of Naked on the back panel. A near-fine copy with slightly-bumped spine ends in a near-fine dustwrapper, lightly rubbed throughout and with slight darkening to the spine, with a tiny closed tear at the top of the rear panel.)
The Kingdom of Speech by Tom Wolfe | (Signed) $275
Wolfe’s controversial new book argues that speech, not evolution, sets humans apart from animals and should be recognized as the original cause for humanity’s historic development. In the course of his argument, Wolfe chastises Charles Darwin for shouldering aside Alfred Russel Wallace and the role he played in the initial recognition of evolution. The author also takes a roundhouse swing at Noam Chomsky’s theory that languages are based on a hard-wired mechanism in the brain. Wolfe has signed this copy in two colors with his characteristic calligraphy on the half title page.
(New York: Little Brown, 2016. First edition. An As-New copy in blue boards with yellow spine lettering in an As-New dustwrapper.)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee |Thirty-Fifth Anniversary Edition (Signed, $1,000)
This American classic became an immediate bestseller and won the 1962 Pulitzer Prize. It was later made into a classic film which earned Oscars for Gregory Peck and screenwriter Horton Foote. To Kill a Mockingbird is regarded as one of the century’s finest works. The author has signed on the half title page, “Best wishes, Harper Lee.”
New York: Harper Collins, 1995. An As New copy of the thirty-fifth anniversary edition of Lee’s classic novel in quarter-backed black cloth and paper-backed boards with gilt lettering in an As New dust wrapper.
The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis | (Signed, limited edition, $250)
The Old Devils won the Booker Prize for Amis in 1986–a late novel of a couple’s rueful return to Wales after many years away. Wales is where Amis got his start, teaching at the University at Swansea, perhaps was the inspiration for his most widely-known book, Lucky Jim. A memorable work by one of Britain’s finest authors.
(London: Hutchinson, 1986. A mint copy of a special edition of 250 signed copies (this being No. 68) bound by The Limited Editions London imprint in linen and marbled covers and with a perfect copy of the original unprinted tissue protector, signed by Amis on a front endpaper.)
An exceptional copy of McCarthy’s book, considered his masterpiece and one of the great novels of the 20th century. The narrative follows a teenager, referred to only as “the kid,” who joins the Glanton gang, a historical group of scalp hunters who massacred Native Americans and others in the United States-Mexico borderlands from 1849 to 1850 for bounty, pleasure, and eventually out of sheer compulsion.
New York: Random House, 1985. First edition. A fine, unread copy in the original red cloth with gilt spine lettering in a fine, bright dustwrapper with a tiny closed tear to the upper panel, about 1/16″.
Judgment on Deltchev by Eric Ambler | ($150)
A British stage personality is hired to cover the treason trial of Yordan Keltchev in a Balkan country where all is not as it seems, to say the least. A classic thriller by the master of the genre. Graham Green called Ambler “our best thriller writer ever.” He is best known for A Coffin for Dimitrios and Journey into Fear.
(London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1951. First edition. A fine copy in brown cloth with gilt spine lettering in a fine, bright dustwrapper, completely unfaded, with a faint crease at spine and a tiny nick at top of spine.)
Snow by Orhan Pamuk | (Signed, $125)
A novel by the Turkish Nobel Prize winner about a poet who goes by the name of Ka, who returns to Turkey after a twelve-year political exile in Germany. He goes to the town of Kars, near Turkey’s far eastern border, posing as a journalist, to discover the cause of the suicides of a number of young women in the area, which have caused much controversy among local Muslims, suicide being forbidden in the religion. The distinctions between secular Turks and the various adherents of Islamic fundamentalism are brilliantly explored in this remarkable novel by Turkey’s Nobel Prize winner. The book is signed on the half title page by Pamuk.
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004. A fine copy in quarter-backed black cloth and red boards with silver lettering in a fine dustwrapper showing a figure hunched up in the snow in front of a mosque.)
In this classic of children’s literature, Dahl writes of a young English orphan boy consigned to two mean and cruel aunts after his parents are killed by a ghostly rhinocerus. James gains entry into a gigantic, magical peach and experiences a wild and surrel adventure with seven magically altered garden bugs as they set off on a journey to escape from James’s aunts.
New York: Knopf, 1961. First edition. A fine copy bound in red cloth with gilt spine lettering and in immaculate condition in a near-fine dustwrapper which is price-clipped and has a slight smudge on the front panel. The red background on the spine is bright with no fading and the book conforms to first-printing points–“bound by H. Wolfe” on the colophon, no ISBN on the rear panel, and lovely illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert
Rand’s book reflects her famous philosophy of “ruthlessly rational individualism.” Ranked “the most influential book in America, second only to the Bible in a survey by the Library of Congress. Worth studying in this Age of Trump.
New York: Random House, 1957. First Edition. A fine copy in bright green cloth with the author’s initials stamped in gilt on the front panel and with gilt spine lettering on a black background, top edge stained dark green. The dustwrapper is near-fine, bright and complete, with a tiny chip at the top of the rear panel and another at the tip of the front panel. Price-clipped, it is a first-issue copy as indicated by “10/57” on bottom of the front flap and by the publisher’s name and address on the back flap. Jacket design by George Salter. The author’s rear panel photo is by Phyllis Cerf.
Leonard was an Irish dramatist, television writer and essayist. In a career that spanned 50 years, he wrote nearly 30 full-length plays, 10 one-act plays, three volumes of essays, two autobiographies, three novels and numerous screenplays and teleplays, as well as writing a regular newspaper column. Three of his plays appeared on Broadway: The Au Pair Man (1973), which starred Charles Durning and Julie Harris; Da (1978); and A Life (1980). Of these, Da earned Leonard both a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for Best Play. It was made into a film in 1988, starring Martin Sheen and Barnard Hughes, who reprised his Tony Award-winning Broadway performance. This book is an entirely charming account of Leonard’s growing up in the Thirties on the outskirts of Dublin. You can’t cry for laughing.
London: Andre Deutsch, 1989. First Edition. A fine copy in black boards with gilt spine lettering in a near-fine pictorial dustwrapper, slightly rubbed and with several wrinkles to the inside flap.
The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a girlhood among ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston | ($100)
The author’s first book. It was Kingston’s writing about the Asian-American experience that broke the ground for the recent generation of superb Asian American writers, including Amy Tan, Gus Lee, Fae Myenne Ng, Chang Rae Lee and Gish Jen. An enchanting and important book.
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976. A fine copy in quarter-backed maroon cloth and tan boards in a fine pictorial dustwrapper.)