London: John Murray, 1917. Small octavo. Boards, printed labels. Benefit slip tipped in facing title. Very good, without the printed dust jacket. Sixth impression (July 1917 - first printed in June 1916). Tipped in after the title is the publisher's 'With the Author's Compliments' leaf. With the ownership inscription. dated 8 Feb. 1919, of Sir Lees Knowles, 1st Baronet, noting that the book was sent to him by the author, Axel Munthe, from Capri. Tipped in back are two typed letters, signed, from Munthe (as well as signed carbons of Knowles's letters to Munthe), regarding receipt and appreciation of each other's books, Knowles having sent Munthe a copy of his book, THE BRITISH IN CAPRI. The most substantial of the two letters from Munthe, Capri, Jan 20th , slightly more than one page closely typed, quarto, with manuscript postscript and corrections, evidences Munthe's difficulties with his vision, and reads in part: "I suppose you know that the last fight was in my garden in Sanmichele [sic]. I used to pick up english soldiers buttons in the garden together with coins of Nero and Tiberius. In return for your sending me your book I have asked my publisher John Murray to send you a copy of 'Red Cross and Iron Cross.' The italian translation of the little book was bought up by the British govv[sic] for anti german propaganda and they were just issuing another large popular edition in Italy at the expense of the British mission when the armistice came. I am just reading the MS of the french translation. I had to return here on account of the wretched condition of my eyes and was not able to assist to the finale of the world drama. But I had a good go of it during the early stages of the war and was even in the hands of the germans for twenty four hours. The book is signed by 'A Doctor in France,' instead of my name. Notwithstanding my efforts to hide myself - I went so far as to commit suicide in the preface - the narrative is much too personal to be signed by its author. I hope it gives you the sensation of life and of truth, I ask for nothing more ...." He continues with news of his situation and the state of things in Capri. Signed in ink, "Sincerely yours Axel Munthe." Two envelopes addressed to Knowles by Munthe from Capri are also tipped in. An interesting copy of this significant WWI narrative -- all proceeds of the sales went to benefit the Red Cross. It was not until 1930 that the book was republished under Munthe's name. (Inventory #: WRCLIT75947)
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