Rare Books, Wine, and Food: The Perfect Pairing

April 28th, 2014
Irma Rombauer, The Joy of Cooking, First Edition, Signed First Edition, Rare Book

First Edition of Irma Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking Signed by the Author

At Raptis Rare Books, we love to throw parties. This week we had a lovely blind wine tasting, along with a wine and book exchange. Like an aged Cabernet and high quality steak, books about wine and food go together seamlessly and are some of the most popular books to give as gifts for birthdays, anniversaries or other special events. We have several rare books featuring delicious recipes and delightful wines.

Irma Rombauer’s The Joy of Cooking has become the most authoritative cookbook in America, a book that has been passed from generation to generation since its first publication in 1931. We have a first edition from 1931 as well as a first edition from the 1943 edition of the cookbook, which has been signed by Rombauer. Do you know someone graduating from culinary school or want to get your daughter a special gift she will carry with her forever? The Joy of Cooking is the perfect choice and remains a staple in home cooking even in the 21st century.

Another classic and authoritative name in home cooking is Julia Child. Her books The French Chef Cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and The Way to Cook have become household names and permanent fixtures on bookshelves throughout the United States.  We have Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 and 2, which are inscribed by Julia Child and Simone Beck. Both copies are in excellent condition, in dust jackets that show only light wear. This an extremely rare find and the perfect addition to any chef’s collection. Our first edition of The French Chef Cookbook is also signed and inscribed by Julia Child and is in great condition. Our copy of The Way to Cook, which was Child’s second large compilation of recipes after Mastering the Art of French Cooking, is in great condition.

Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, First Edition, Signed First Edition, Rare Book

First Edition of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes 1 & 2, signed by Child and Beck.

Our collection of  rare cookbooks also includes a first edition of The New England Butt’ry Shelf Cookbook, which is signed by the illustrator and inscribed by the author. We also have a first edition of The Classic Italian Cookbook: The Art of Italian Cooking and the Italian Art of Eating that is signed by the author on the title page. Also from Marzella Hazan a first edition of More Classic Italian Cooking.

Pair any of these fine, unique cookbooks with our first edition of Bordeaux: The Definitive Guide for the Wines Produced Since 1961 for a thoughtful gift for the food and wine enthusiast. Looking for a French-themed pair? Collect Mastering the Art of French Cooking with our first edition of The Noble Grapes and the Great Wines of France.

Whether you are a wine or food enthusiast, collecting rare and unique copies of classic cookbooks is a great way to commemorate your interest and also pass your love on to those around you.

Robert Parker, Bordeaux: The Definitive Guide for the Wines Produced Since 1961, First Edition, Rare Book

First Edition of Robert Parker’s Bordeaux: The Definitive Guide for the Wines Produced Since 1961

Food and books

Author Spotlight – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

April 19th, 2014

Gabriel Garcia MarquezKnown as ‘Gabo’ by his affectionate and loyal fans, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s death on April 17th, 2014, is being mourned around the world. Marquez is considered one of the world’s greatest writers and the Columbian writer’s well-known works include novels, short stories, screenplays and articles.

The Nobel Prize winner first gained popularity and respect after publishing his first novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude. In the novel, Marquez touches upon his time growing up in Colombia with his grandparents. Although much of the novel is written based on his own experiences, many critics believe Marquez spoke for rural towns throughout Latin America. One Hundred Years of Solitude led to his winning the Nobel Prize in 1972 and made Marquez a highly respected literary figure in society. We have a rare first edition written in Spanish of the author’s masterpiece, inscribed by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Love in the Time of Cholera is another of Marquez’s most famous novels. Published in 1985, this love story explores the idea of love as a sort of disease and was met with a positive reaction from both readers and critics, being translated into English in 1988 and made into a film in 2007. One of the most quoted of Marquez’s novels, many readers feel as though they can relate the heartache and ‘disease’ he represents through his characters.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera, first edition, rare book

Love in the Time of Cholera, Signed First Edition

An excerpt from the book: “She would defend herself, saying that love, no matter what else it might be, was a natural talent. She would say: You are either born knowing how, or you never know.” An amazing novel, we have a First American Edition of Love in the Time of Cholera that is inscribed and dated by Gabriel Garzia Marquez on the dedication page.

Other famous works of his include Of Love and Other Demons, Autumn of the Patriarch, News of a Kidnapping, Living to Tell the Tale and Memories of My Melancholy Whores.

Marquez was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in 1999 and was also suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. After a recent stay in the hospital shortly before his passing, it is said that Marquez sent this message to the journalists outside of his home: “Are you crazy? Why are you spending so much time here? Go back to work.” It seems as though even in his poor health and older age, Marquez was still carrying the strength and sense of humor the world has grown to love and admire. Many believe Marquez to be the voice of Latin America, illuminating both passion and love in his works, but also the great inequality and violence felt within the culture. He will be greatly missed by all.

To view all of our works by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, click here.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera, Signed First Edition, Rare Book

Love in the Time of Cholera, Signed Limited Edition

Rudyard Kipling’s Time in Vermont

April 9th, 2014

Rudyard Kipling

Last week we had a rare opportunity to travel back in time to meet one of the world’s most beloved English storytellers of all time, Joseph Rudyard Kipling. His fiction works are some of the world’s favorites, especially his collection of short stories titled The Jungle Book. What many don’t know, however, is that Kipling spent a great deal of time in Vermont and built a house there, where he wrote many of his most famous works, including The Jungle Book and Captains Courageous.

Kipling purchased 12 acres of land in Dummerston, Vermont in 1892, to build a house with his American wife. The large house was built to resemble a ship and Kipling gave it the name “Naulakha.” There are several theories as to what Kipling was referencing with this name. It translates to “Jewel Beyond Price” in Hindi and is also the name of the Naulakha Paviolion, a monument in Pakistan. With either meaning of the name, it can be argued that Kipling saw his new house in Vermont as a sacred and priceless retreat.

Kipling's Home in Vermont

Kipling’s Home in Vermont

Kipling wrote about the construction of his Vermont home in his autobiography Something of Myself.

Lavish too was the long open attic, as I realised when too late. Pigeon asked me whether I would have it finished in ash or cherry. Ignorant that I was, I chose ash, and so missed a stretch of perhaps the most satisfying interior wood that is grown. Those were opulent days, when timber was nothing regarded, and the best of cabinet-work could be had for little money.

It is interesting to glimpse into the life of one of the world’s most famous novelists and see the somewhat common frustrations he had while building this beautiful home in the mountains of Vermont.

The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1993. The Landmark Trust owns the property, which offers it for week-long vacation rentals.

The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling, First Edition

The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling, First Edition

If you are a fan of Kipling or just looking for a fun place to stay in Vermont, we highly recommend it. Since we live nearby, we have not done this, but we did spend an evening at the house, learning about its history and listening to his “Just So” stories told to us by a wonderful Kipling impersonator. Hearing stories such as the Elephant’s Child (How the Elephant Got His Trunk) in the same room where he told these tals to his children was like stepping into a different world.

If you would like to read more about Naulakha and some of Kipling’s adventures there, including a visit from author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, there is a nice article in the New York Times entitled Where Kipling Reared Mowgli (in Vermont).

While living in Vermont, Kipling wrote several famous books. He wrote Captains Courageous, a novel about the adventures of a fifteen-year-old boy who is rescued by fisherman off the coast of Newfoundland, which we have a first edition copy of. While in Vermont, Kipling also wrote both editions of The Jungle Book, a famous collection of fables that provide moral instruction. We have a first edition copy of both The Jungle Book and the Second Jungle Book. Kipling also wrote The Seven Seas in Vermont. To view all of the works we have from Rudyard Kipling, click here.

Captains Courageous, First Edition

Captains Courageous, First Edition

Great Works on the Stock Market

March 31st, 2014

Signed, First Edition Copy of
The Stock Market Crash – And After

First Edition copy of The Stock Market Crash - And After by Irving Fisher

There are a select group of financial scholars and leaders that have left behind great literary works, helping us to better understand the stock market and other aspects of the global financial system. We carry several of these rare, historical books about the stock market, written by some of the best in the financial world. These books make a wonderful addition to any financial-enthusiast’s collection.

We carry a first edition copy of Irving Fisher’s The Stock Market Crash – And After. This historical work comes complete with its original dust jacket and includes a signed letter from the author himself, printed on his Yale University Letterhead. Irving Fisher was widely regarded as being the preeminent economic theorist in the United States, from the turn of the 20th Century until his death in 1947. Fisher was the first recipient of a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University in 1891, before embarking upon a distinguished career.

Rare, Signed Copy of
The Battle for Investment Survival

Signed copy of The Battle for Investment Survival by Gerald M. Loeb

Debatably one of the most important books on Wall Street, we have a rare, signed copy of Gerald M. Loeb’s The Battle for Investment Survival that comes with the original dust jacket. Originally written in 1935, The Battle for Investment Survival treats investors to a straightforward account of how to profit–and how to avoid profit loss–in what Loeb would describe as the constant tug-of-war between rising and falling markets. “Most of today’s advisors are telling us to diversify into stocks, bonds, foreign stocks, and perhaps gold, to spread the risk; Loeb tells us to put all our eggs in one basket, and watch the basket” (John Rothchild).

William Peter Hamilton was the fourth editor of the prestigious Wall Street Journal. His book, The Stock Market Barometer, offers a clear and in-depth analysis of the Dow Theory’s underlying principles, its explanation of averages and its remarkable affinity for predictable cycles of panic and prosperity.

First Edition Copy of
The Stock Market Barometer

First Edition copy of The Stock Market Barometer by William Peter Hamilton

More than just a blueprint of the Theory, however, Hamilton’s cogent discussion provides a concise examination of the stock market and its history since 1897, as well as thorough descriptions of the notable trends he observed during a distinguished career. Our first edition copy of this ground-breaking book is in great condition and still in the rare, original dust jacket.

We carry several other notable works about the Stock Market. We have a signed copy of Eugene F. Fama’s The Behavior of Stock Market Prices. Fama is widely recognized as the “father of modern finance” beginning with his groundbreaking Ph.D. thesis. His thesis, which concluded that stock price movements are unpredictable and follow a random walk, was published in the January, 1965 issue of the Journal of Business, entitled “The Behavior of Stock Market Prices.”

First Edition Copy of The Battle for Investment Survival

First Edition Copy of High and Low Financiers by Watson Washburn and Edmund S. De Long

We also have a first edition copy of Watson Washburn’s and Edmund S. De Long’s High and Low Financiers. This fascinating book tells the story of two notorious swindlers between 1929-1930 that were caught abusing the modern stock market.

Whether you’re a financial-enthusiast or are looking for the perfect gift for the one in your life, our rare, first edition books are the perfect choice. To view all of our books on Economics and Politics, click here, or email the owners here.

Mark Twain and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn First Edition Issue Points

March 24th, 2014

Mark TwainSamuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his nom de plume Mark Twain, was one of the most critically acclaimed and popular writers of our time. His vast body of work spans multiple genres. Twain was able to accurately reflect the sensitive social issues of his day in a way that intimately touched his readers and often caused great controversy. For this reason, much of Twain’s work has been restricted throughout the years. Schools across America banned what is arguably his most popular book, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, due to its frequent use of racial epithets. But despite his southern upbringing during the time of slavery, Twain was decidedly not racist. His books were a heartwarming and accurate reflection of his times, and his use of colloquialisms only added authenticity to his writing.

Book collectors have been adding Twain to their assemblage since 1885, when Leon & Brothers, rare book dealers from New York, devoted a catalogue entirely to American authors, which included 13 of Twain’s first edition books. This solidified his place among the literary elite and he was soon flooded with requests for his signature.

When buying a signed copy of any Mark Twain book, it’s especially important to verify the authenticity of the signature. Many of his books include a facsimile of his signature and endorsements, but this is not a true signature. Also, we advise staying away from ‘laid in’ signatures for most books unless there is strong provenance for the autograph.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

First Edition Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in Green Cloth

When collecting first edition copies of Mark Twain books, there are a few things to look for specifically. Check the date on the title page, not the copyright date on the back title page. The two dates should be no more than a year off to validate the edition. Mark Twain’s first book, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, is one of the rarest of Mark Twain works with only 1,000 printed copies. There are a couple of interesting things that will help you determine if your copy is authentic. Page 198 of an 1867 version of the book has an “i” in the word “this” that should be perfect and unbroken. Also, the last line on page 66 includes the word “life” that should likewise be unbroken. All first issue, first printing copies include a “single leaf of ads on cream-yellow paper before the title page,” according to the Collected Books: The Guide to Identification and Values by Allen Ahearn, Patricia Ahearn. Extremely rare editions have the frog on the middle of the front cover, instead of the more common placement of the frog in the left corner.

Identifying a first edition of Huckleberry Finn can often be confusing for collectors, but we hope to guide you in understanding what to look for when purchasing this book. American editions are more desirable than the British edition, as Twain was is an American author, but the British edition actually precedes the American edition by about six months. The first state of the British edition is a red cloth that says “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (the “The” being dropped for the American edition) and has a 32 page catalog at the rear dated October 1884.  It is saddle stitched with staples rather than being sewn.

The first American edition was haphazardly assembled by the printer and bibliographers still do not agree on whether or not there is a priority to various issue points. An estimated 20,000 copies were issued in cloth, most of them being green and about 1 in 20 issued in blue, if requested by the subscriber.  Another 2500 were issued in sheepskin and 500 copies in three-quarter leather.

There are three universally-agreed upon issue points that discern a cloth first edition copy of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from a later edition. The heading for Chapter VI (6) on the first contents page (p.9) reads “Huck Decided to Leave.” In later editions, this was changed to “Huck Decides to Leave.” On page 13, the Illustrations list, “Him and another Man” is incorrectly listed at page 88. On page 57, eleven lines from the bottom, it reads “with the was” which was changed in later editions to “with the saw.”   There are many other issue points that are of interest that can be found in some first printings and not others. This is referred to as being in various ‘states’ of the first edition. The Bibliography of American Literature (BAL) gives other points for the first edition, but there has not been agreement as to priority of these states. The copyright should state 1884, with the title page stating 1885.  Some copies show a cloth under the bust of Twain on the frontispiece and others do not, instead bearing the name of “Karl Gerhardt, Sc.” written on the bust . On page 161, the first edition copy is missing the signature “11″ at the bottom of the page, which can be found on later editions. On page 143, the “l” is missing from the word “Col.” in the illustration of Colonel Grangerford and in line 11, the word “body” has a broken b (missing the top of the letter) that was fixed in later editions. On page 155, some first editions are missing the final five and on other states they have been hand-stamped in, with the final five being slightly larger than the other two numbers. On page 283 of many of the sheep-skin copies, there is a ‘curved fly’ illustration that was found to be offensive. This illustration has never been found in a cloth-bound copy.

"Huck Decided to Leave" - later changed to "Huck Decides to Leave"

“Huck Decided to Leave” – later changed to “Huck Decides to Leave”

"Him and another Man" listed as being on p. 88 in the list of illustrations.

“Him and another Man” listed as being on p. 88 in the list of illustrations.

With the was vs. with the saw

First issue reads “with the was” instead of “with the saw”

Huckleberry Finn First Edition title page

Huckleberry Finn title page

Huckleberry Finn first edition copyright page

Huckleberry Finn first edition copyright page

Mark Twain bust with cloth

Mark Twain bust with cloth

Mark Twain bust without cloth visible

Mark Twain bust without cloth visible

huckleberry finn first edition issue points col. granger

 

Missing the final "5"

Missing the final “5″

huckleberry finn first edition issue points p.155

Final five slightly larger.

We offer several rare and first edition copies of Mark Twain’s works, including a signed edition of The Writings of Mark Twain, a first edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and a first edition of his nonfiction, The War: An Intimate History 1941-1945.

Mark Twain on books

Author Spotlight – Truman Capote

February 14th, 2014

Truman CapoteThe life of Truman Capote was riddled with glamor, addiction and even murder. His books are a staple among literary classics and Capote believed that real-life events could make better fiction than the imagination could ever dream of. The movie version of his own life was a testament to that. Capote, starring the recently deceased Philip Seymour Hoffman, was a ground-breaking tribute to Capote’s life and the creation of one of his more captivating novels. Hoffman portrayed the troubled author in a riveting, emotional performance. The movie was a critically-acclaimed re-telling of Capote’s journey while writing In Cold Blood, the true story of the gruesome murders of the Clutter family in Kansas. Capote, a drug addict himself, whose death was also partly contributed to intoxicants, could not have been more appropriately cast.

Capote’s personal life made him one of America’s most controversial authors. An open homosexual, drug addict and alcoholic, Capote was a target for the spotlight. His literary genius was almost overshadowed by his social life, but it was Capote’s troubled psyche that made him such a compassionate observer. His ability to capture the human spirit gave his novels instant success.

Capote did not shun the spotlight. Embracing his status among the elite and celebrating the success of In Cold Blood, Capote threw what some call the “Party of the Century,” The Black and White Ball. It was a considered to be “a pinnacle of New York’s social history.” But in 1975, when Capote published the first few chapters of a tell-all book in Esquire magazine detailing the intimate lives of his celebrity friends, he quickly found himself ostracized.

The Grass HarpAs ground-breaking as In Cold Blood was, Capote’s body of work is so large that it would be wrong to try to categorize his works into one genre. Capote is responsible for literary masterpieces such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Other Voices, Other Rooms. His rare and collectible books are in constant demand. When collecting rare Capote books, it’s important to find editions that are in prime condition. This is especially true with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, arguably Capote’s most sought-after title, due to its orange spine which easily fades.

We currently offer a first edition, signed copy of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. A first edition, first state binding edition of The Grass Harp, and a very fine, first edition, signed copy of In Cold Blood.

Author Spotlight – J.D. Salinger

January 29th, 2014

J.D. Salinger

J.D. Salinger’s portrayal of cynical adolescence and the shortcomings of society is what draws many readers to his works. This representation can be seen famously in 16-year-old Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, and also in the young, brilliant band of misfits he portrays in his (albeit slim) published body of work.

The infatuation readers have with Salinger is just that – an obsession. His well-received first novels and short stories were followed by the famous silence that lasted until his recent death. The new documentary, Salinger, brings light to the author’s recluse in the woods of New Hampshire. We come to see him not only as a mysterious, talented author, but also as a calculated and somewhat manipulative figure in literary society.

But what should we expect? In Nash K. Burger’s review of The Catcher in the Rye from 1951, he writes, “Holden is bewildered, lonely, ludicrous and pitiful. His troubles, his failings are not of his own making but of a world that is out of joint.”

Catcher in the Rye

Salinger has been making a sweeping statement about this “out of joint world” from the beginning, and his novels carry this attitude through offbeat, relatable characters that live on the edge of deviance. As Edward Norton states in the 2013 documentary Salinger, “When you’re a kid and you’re reading Catcher in the Rye you’re just like, somebody gets it!” The world through Salinger’s characters is one that is both excruciatingly cynical and honest, making his novels a true pleasure for any reader, young and old.

First Edition copies of The Catcher in the Rye have a few distinct features. The books will have “FIRST EDITION” printed on the copyright page. There is a black-and-white photograph of Salinger on the back panel of the book with the top of his head slightly cut off. The spine is comprised of black cloth that is stamped and lettered in gilt. The price on the first edition copies of The Catcher in the Rye is more bold than later editions and the $ is aligned with the shoulder of the “R” in “Catcher.” There is no book-of-the-month club statement on the front flap of dust jacket. To view our First Edition Copies of The Catcher in the Rye, Click Here.

Nelson Mandela – A life of passion and persistance

December 10th, 2013

Nelson MandelaThe world suffered a great lost when Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and longtime revolutionary, died on December 5th, 2013. Mandela was South Africa’s first black president and the first president that was democratically elected, a feat that was only made possible by Mandela’s decades of political activism. Mandela was an African nationalist and a democratic socialist. He served his country as President of the African Nation Congress (ANC) from 1991-1997. Mandela also served internationally as the Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998-1999.

For most of Mandela’s life, he fought for the freedom of his people. However, many of his actions have been controversial. He was denounced as a communist and even as a terrorist by his critics. However, his efforts, controversial or not, have earned him over 250 honors internationally, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, the British Red Cross Humanity Medal and the International Gandhi Peace Prize. But it is his own country which holds him in the highest regard, where is known by the name Tata, or father. Mandela is frequently called “The Father of the Nation” among his supporters in South Africa.

As an outspoken member of the African National Congress (ANC), Mandela rallied the support of his followers and organized strikes, boycotts and protests against the apartheid political system. Although Mandela tried to adopt Mahatma Gandhi’s position on non-violence when appropriate, he did not shy away from violence when he felt it was necessary. In 1961, Mandela helped form a new group of freedom fighters called Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation, otherwise known as MK. The group promoted guerilla warfare and, although MK is officially separate from the ANC, they later became the ANC’s armed branch.

Nelson Mandela's Favorite African FolktalesMandela’s years of creating political upheaval and disturbance did not go unnoticed by the apartheid politicians. He was first arrested in 1956 for high treason. Although he did not serve any jail time, the event foreshadowed what was to come. In 1962, just one year after his trial ended for high treason, Mandela was arrested and convicted of “conspiracy to overthrow the state” and sentenced to life in prison. Over the course his life, Mandela served over 27 years behind bars.

During his time in prison, Mandela continued his mission. He fought to improve living conditions for his fellow prisoners and took part in work and hunger strikes. He maintained his anti-apartheid activism and formed alliances with other ANC political prisoners, as well as political prisoners from PAC and the Yu Chi Chan Club. During the course of Mandela’s sentence, he continued to study law and even started his autobiography. He received many visits from political figures around the globe. In 1980, the “Free Mandela!” campaign was started, creating international demand for his release. In 1885, the State President, P.W. Botha, offered Mandela freedom under the condition that he ‘”unconditionally rejected violence as a political weapon”. Mandela rejected the condition and delivered the statement through his daughter, “What freedom am I being offered while the organisation of the people [ANC] remains banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts.”

In 1990, during a time of considerable unrest in South Africa, Mandela was finally released. Botha, who had suffered a stroke, resigned as the leader of the national party and was replaced by F. W. de Klerk. Klerk released Mandela and lifted the ban on all political parties.

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Mandela wasted no time after his release. In 1991 he was a key figure in the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA). And in 1994, Mandela was elected to be the first black President of South Africa.  Throughout his years of presidency, Mandela continued his fight for freedom, domestically and internationally, until he finally stepped down from his position in 1997.

Mandela’s life was filled with turmoil, a fate he gladly suffered for the sake of his people. He was loved by all who stand for freedom. He is considered to be the “the founding father” of democracy in South Africa and racial equality around the globe.

We have an extensive collection of rare, signed and first edition books by Nelson Mandela. We have one of only 250 signed, limited edition copies of Long Walk To Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. You can also find one of only 100 signed copies of A Dictionary of South African English on Historical Principles, a signed copy of Prisoner in the Garden, and a signed first edition copy of Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales.

nelson mandela quote

 

Author Spotlight – Graham Greene

November 4th, 2013

Graham Greene

English novelist and playwright Graham Greene was one of the most widely read authors of the 20th century. A superb storyteller, he had a flair for writing suspenseful, action-packed stories. His themes were often morally ambiguous and blurred the line between good and evil. A prolific writer, Greene’s bibliography contains over 150 titles, including novels, short stories, children’s books, plays and travel books.

Greene was raised by a wealthy family in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England and attended a Berkhamsted boarding school where his father was the headmaster. Although initially interested in being a barrister, while at school, Greene found his writing voice and also discovered his propensity for teaching. As a young man, Greene suffered bouts of depression. At age 16, he was sent to London for six months where he received psychoanalysis for, what would now be considered, bi-polar disorder, a radical move for his parents to take at that time. Graham Greene the ComediansHe returned after six months to continue his studies in Berkhamsted. Greene later went on to study at Oxford, where his depression continued and he generally isolated himself from his fellow students.

Greene was an avid traveler. His adventures lead him around the globe and were often the inspiration for his books. His first trip abroad to Liberia spawned the travel book Journey Without Maps, while a trip to Mexico was the basis for both The Lawless Roads and The Power and the Glory. Greene’s vast travels lead to his recruitment by MI6, during World War II. His relationship with the British agency was tenuous at best. He has been a member of the Communist party and was even a German sympathizer. He offered his services to spy on the French for the German SS and agreed to write in a pro-German voice while at Oxford. He was also a contributor for the radical right-wing, anti-Semitic publication, The Patriot. However, Greene’s stint with the British agency directly influenced much of his later writings, where he examined the morality of espionage in such writings as The Heart of the Matter, Our Man in Havana and The Human Factor.

Graham Greene Monsignor Quixote

Even from his early teenage years, Greene had a fascination for rare and collectible books. He always ensured that the books presented to him were signed and inscribed by the authors. His collection included many of the great literary classics of his day. Greene was acutely aware of the value of his own signature and was notorious for not signing books. This makes copies of his signature especially desirable. Greene once stated that if he had not been an author, he would have opened his own rare and collectable bookstore. He was, in fact, the inspiration for his nephew’s secondhand book store. Greene’s collection was in constant influx. He often traded his books for editions he desired more and put personal stake on books he felt were valuable. He had a keen eye for what he thought would be collectable, and at the time of his death, his library included nearly 3,000 tiles, 500 of which were signed and inscribed.

Raptis Rare Books offers a first edition, inscribed copy of The Comedians, an inscribed, first edition of Monsignor Quixote, as well as a first American edition of England Made Me. Our first edition copy of A Visit to Morin is inscribed to James Bond author Ian Fleming. This is an incredible association copy between these two great British writers of the genre.

A Visit to Morin

A Visit to Morin Inscribed by Graham Greene to Ian Fleming

Author spotlight – William Faulkner

October 18th, 2013

William Faulkner

Faulkner is one of the most important writers in U.S. Southern literature, along with Mark Twain and Flannery O’Connor. His novels deal often with Southern culture and what he perceived to be its fall from grace in the transition into a new era, while his writing style is cerebral and experimental with meticulous attention to diction and cadence in “stream of consciousness.” This is in contrast to the minimalist understatement of his contemporary Ernest Hemingway.

From the early 1920s to the outbreak of World War II, Faulkner left for California where he began to publish thirteen novels and numerous short stories. This body of work was driven mainly by an obscure writer’s need for money, but it formed the basis of his reputation and led to him being awarded the Nobel Prize at age 52 for “his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel” (“The Nobel Prize in Literature 1949″). These stories are sometimes Gothic or grotesque and include characters such as former slaves, poor white, agrarian, or working-class Southerners, and Southern aristocrats. Light in August is one of Faulkner’s grand modernist works. In a style reminiscent of Christian allegory, it narrates its initial focus on Lena Grove, a young pregnant white woman from Alabama searching for her unborn child’s father, and then it shifts to Joe Christmas, a man others regard as white, but who secretly believes to have black ancestry. Light in August therefore portrays the clash of alienated people against a puritanical rural society. It has been ranked 54th on Modern Library’s 100 best English-language novels of the 20th Century.

Light in August

Light in August First Edition

Signed, Limited Edition of The Mansion

Ten years later, Faulkner published his Snopes Trilogy, entailing The Hamlet, The Town, and The Mansion. Each novel is fictionally situated in Faulkner’s ‘postage stamp,’ Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. He described it as “my apocryphal county,” for it was inspired by his experience in Lafayette County. The Snopes Trilogy deals with the South after the Civil War, its displaced economy, rural populism, and racial and social tensions. Specifically, it documents the town of Jefferson and how the extended family headed by Flem Snopes manifests in the lives and psyches of the populace. The Hamlet, for example, follows the Snopes’ transition from poor outcasts to controversial, if not dangerous, town figures.