UPDATE: These items have been recovered.
Over the weekend of July 24/25 the following items were stolen from the premises of R.A. Gekoski Booksellers, 13 Bathurst Mews, London W2 2SB. Anyone with information about any of the items, which may be offered for sale by the thieves, may contact us on 0207-706-2735, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The individual items are listed below:
AMIS, KINGSLEY. Typed letter signed, Lemmons , 1974. One side of a single page of headed notepaper, small quarto; 'Dear Mr. Austin', 'Yours sincerely', and signed 'Kingsley Amis'. A brief note, responding to a request to speak at a conference. Amis queries the breakdown of speaking and question time at the upcoming event, requests transport, and thanks Mr Austin - an editor at Cape- for what, presumably, were laudatory remarks made earlier in the correspondence: 'It is very kind of you to say that you have enjoyed my work. Believe me, such tributes come all too rarely and are warmly appreciated.'
AMIS, KINGSLEY. Typed letter signed, 1 page, Barnet, 1 May, 1974. To a Miss Johnsen, confirming that a poem she inquires about "must be by my friend Philip Larkin" and has the holograph emendation: " ... at least I intended to , but can't find the book concerned. Its title is `The Less Deceived.'" Folded twice - in excellent condition.
AMIS, KINGSLEY. Typed letter signed, to Miss Gale, Prince Albert Road , 1987. One side of a single page, small quarto, of headed notepaper (marked 'file' in pen), 'Dear Miss Gale', 'Yours sincerely', and signed 'Kingsley Amis', in which Amis declines a request to furnish a quotation for the novel Peace, by Gene Wolfe. 'I'm sorry to say that I haven't been a fan of Wolfe's for years and consequently feel that I would not be coming up with a quote for you.' Single fold, else fine.
BEATON, CECIL. Two autograph letters signed to Anita Loos, 9pp., Salisbury and London, n.d.. Discussing his stay in Tangiers, his own work, the stage version of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", a Helen Hayes opening in London, and alluding to Tennessee Williams. " . . . I have been completely out of this world living in Africa & hearing nothing of what is happening outside of Tangier's little circles - so that I did not know of the wretched unfriendliness to Helen and Charlie . . . it is too ghastly . . . I am thrilled to hear about 'Blondes' . I shall be there at the opening. I have come back feeling very refreshed and replenished after a long session in the sun. Tangier was very interesting - horrid in many ways - but stimulating in others . . . " "Darling Anita: Helen's great opening night took place in a heat wave last evening . . . I found the play even more gripping & poignant than in New York but it is very different from the Laurette evening, less tragic, more pathetic . . . Gielgud has done a very good job and the cast is a great team . . . T. Williams didn't come over from Paris for the first night and hasn't bothered to get in touch with his family who are here . . . Mama with pince nez, young brother, and grandad aged 92 who a year ago was had up for some unsavoury sex offence."
BELL, CLIVE. Autograph letter, signed, to Raymond Mortimer, two pages, Charleston, Firle, Sussex, 4 September 1955. A long and chatty letter in which Bell takes Mortimer through his social calendar, from a proposed trip to Italy, to a run of London dinners, engagements, and meetings. "I have spent the summer, not always very comfortably, in the heart of a vast family circle, composed of Vanessa and Duncan and Quentin and Olivia and a child of Quentin's and a child of Angelica's. Once I fled to London for the inside of a week and saw a few friends ..." The letter ends with a waspish assessment of James Strachey Barnes, whose recent obituary had been printed in The Times. "Who intrigued to get him half a column I can't imagine. I could have done him most succinctly. He was one of the greatest bores of his time - a bore of the very worst kind - an intellectual without an intellect." Folded twice - in excellent condition.
CHURCHILL, W.S. Speeches by the Rt. Hon Winston Churchill; The Earl of Lytton; Mr. Arthur Henderson, International Association for Labour Organisation, Garden City Press, Letchworth, 1910. Not in Woods and distinctly uncommon. The texts of the speeches as delivered to the organisation, which was founded by Sidney Webb in 1905. We can locate five copies, none of which are in the UK. Yapp edges nicked and missing one or two tiny chips, else a nice copy.
ELIOT, T.S. Typed letter signed to Father Martin Jarrett-Kerr, two pages, Faber and Faber, 24 Russell Square, London, WC1, 15 December 1960. A fascinating letter (approximately 500 words) discussing the aftermath of the Lady Chatterley obscenity trial and Eliot's views on D.H. Lawrence. Eliot opens by expressing his pleasure to hear that the S.C.M. Press is to reprint Jarrett-Kerr's D.H. Lawrence and Human Existence (published under the pseudonym of William Tiverton) to which Eliot had contributed the preface. He goes on in greater detail about 'immoral' literature which he generally condemns (particularly Lolita and By Love Possessed) while exonerating Lawrence to the extent that he "at least had a very serious and laudible (sic) intention ... though I am sure I should not have liked the man." Punch holes to margin, else in excellent condition.
ELIOT, T.S. Four typed letters signed to S.J. Perelman, five pages, 24 Russell Square, London, WC1, 1946 September 1961. A fascinating series of - to all intents and purposes - fan letters to one of Eliot's favourite comic writers (a form in which TSE himself occasionally excelled, and one for the most illustrious exponents of which he felt a profound admiration). The earliest letter, addressed to "Mr Perelman" and signed in full, inquires about the failure of delivery of one of Perelman's books - presumably the first of the many that Eliot refers to in a later letter: "I am proud to be the possessor of so many autographed presentation copies of Perelman" - and with the intriguing autograph subscription "Don't forget the trip down the Mississippi in 1948." The second letter opens: "This has been a great disappointment. After following your progress towards London the long way around threading your way among crocodiles, gorillas, dark-skinned political enthusiasts and enemies of American capitalism, I disappear from London and return to find you come and gone." The tone of the later letters (to "Sid," and signed "Tom") is relaxed and bantering and reflects the maturity of a relationship - like that with Groucho Marx - from which Eliot drew immense pleasure. In excellent condition.
ELIOT, T.S. Three Christmas cards signed, n.p. 1957. To Peter du Sautoy and his wife Mollie, signed "Tom" and additionally by Valerie. The cards are all illustrated by reproductions of paintings of an appropriately religious nature and are in excellent condition.
(GALSWORTHY, JOHN). FORD, MADOX FORD. A.l.s. to Ford Madox Ford, four pages, London, 1925. Very good on a single sheet, folded once.
HUGHES, TED. Typed letter signed, 1p.,North Tawton, 1982. Approximately 300 words, to Ian Hamilton, biographer of Robert Lowell, recalling an incident in which Lowell wrote to Hughes, "incoherent with rage" at a remark on the former's poetry made by the latter in the Tri-Quarterly Review. Crease folds, otherwise excellent. "What stunned me, apart from his rage, was to realise that I'd done the very thing I like least about literary commentary ... he'd written the note the night before he went back into hospital, and had been in a hypersensitive state - which only made me feel that I'd probably helped to drive him back there."
JOYCE, JAMES. Extracts from Press Notices of 'Ulysses', 1921. Single sheet, folded once to make four pages, comprising extracts of reviews from various French, British and American newspapers and periodicals. Some, as to be expected, are highly critical, as evidenced by "The Pink-un" writing in The Sporting Times: "The main contents of this book are enough to make a Hottentot sick ... not alone sordidly pornographic, but it is intensely dull." The New York Herald on the other hand remarks that: "There is to be found in "Ulysses" some of the finest English that has been written ... To Mr. Joyce the inexpressible does not exist. He proves the subtleness, the flexibility of English ... The record is monumental, almost staggering and incontestably true to life ... of an almost diabolic clairvoyance." Horses for courses, we can only assume. In excellent condition.
JOYCE, JAMES. Prospectus and order form for "Ulysses", Shakespeare & Company, Paris, 1921. Four pages, on a single sheet, folded once, announcing the publication of "Ulysses" to be in the autumn of 1921 and giving details of the projected limited edition of 1000 copies, giving some advance press notices including quotes from Pound and Aldington, with a small black-and-white portrait of Joyce tipped to p., and on the rear, the order form. Tiny rust-mark to first page, folded once, else in excellent condition.
LAWRENCE, D.H. Autograph letter signed, two pages, Hampstead, London, 1915. To J.B. Pinker, Lawrence's literary agent, on the subject of a new American edition of The Rainbow, to be published in 1916 (Huebsch having brought out an edition in November 1915 following the judgement against its publication in the UK). "It seems," says Lawrence, "The Rainbow is going to struggle out of the cloud of obscurity after all." Folded twice, very light creasing but in excellent condition.
MAHON, DEREK. Typed letter, signed 'Derek', to William (Cookson), A single page letter attaching the typescript of the last poem (To Henry Purcell) from his edition of the "Selected Poems of Philippe Jaccottet" due out in Penguin in 1999, presumably for possible publication in Agenda. The letter has been folded twice, the typescript thrice. Very good,
MOORE, HENRY. Autograph subscription signed, 2pp. (approximately 50 words), n.p., 1943. Written in answer to, and on, a letter from his editor, Eunice Frost, at Penguin Books, enquiring about the index pages for the forthcoming volume on Moore in the `Penguin Modern Painters' series, noting his corrections: " . . . the only other point I can discover is whether in Plate 30 (the drawing belonging to my wife) it should be Mrs Irina Moore or as it is just Irina Moore - I don't mind neither does she". Folded once and in very good condition in original mailing envelope.
ROLLING STONES. Programme for the Magdalen College Commemoration Ball 1964 signed by Bill Wyman and Brian Jones, Magdalen College, Oxford, 22 June 1964. Signed on the upper cover, a little creased and soiled but a very good copy.
SMITH, STEVIE. Original pen-and-ink drawing and two pages of manuscript, 130 x 135mm, 1975. Smith was a most whimsical illustrator of her own work, and this pen-and-ink drawing perfectly catches her mood. It shows a cottage down a country lane, with title "Fairy Story" (the poem which it illustrates on p.487 of Collected Poems) in Smith's hand let into the upper part of the mount. Framed and glazed, and annotated on the rear board. Accompanied by a two-page Ts. by the author headed "copy" in pencil in her hand, detailing changes to the texts of "Tender Only to One" (1938): pp. 15, 32, 57, 72, and Mother What is Man (1942), pp.18, 49, 54, 64, 70, 63. There are several holograph changes to the Ts., each page signed by Smith. The changes to these earlier texts were presumably intended for incorporation in her Collected Poems (1975), which would explain why they accompany the drawings.
STEVENS, WALLACE. Typed letter signed to William York Tindall, one page, Hartford, Connecticut, 30 August, 1946. To the well-known Columbia academic and critic, declining an invitation to do some unnamed literary task, and commenting on his trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania (home of the chocolates) in the previous September, when he "had myth pretty constantly in my mind ... it was impossible to be in the place without the feeling that one was in a laboratory in which a myth was in process ... the personal trolley system, the Spanish hotel, the Italian recreation palazzo and the really splendid theatre with electric stars twinkling in the ceiling are perfect instances of what knocks myth into a cocked hat; only, actually, the myth is getting the better of them." A lovely example of Stevens' imagination at work.
STEVENS, WALLACE. Typed letter signed to William Cole, one page, Hartford, Connecticut, 2 April, 1947. Stevens responds to Cole's request, as publicity director of his publishers Alfred Knopf, that Life magazine carry a feature about Stevens. He hates the idea: "when a man in a large office permits the sort of thing that Life is thinking of ... his associates take it for granted that he is promoting himself and the whole thing tends to alienate them. I cannot think of anything more imprudent and will have nothing to do with it. I could say a lot more but no is enough." A further paragraph has a request that six more copies of Transport to Summer be sent to him.
STEVENS, WALLACE. Typed letter signed to William Humphrey, one page, Hartford, Connecticut, 14 January, 1947. Stevens responds to Humphrey's letter of January 8th, and declines - "You cannot seriously expect me to do as you ask" - the suggestion that he buy the 22 year-old would-be writer a farm, and support him while he wrote short stories, in return for a never-ending supply of food. Stevens thinks it a seriously misguided project: "there doesn't seem much chance for you as a writer if you are going to engage in farm work. I am sorry that I don't have the answer." Published only in The Wallace Stevens Journal, Spring, 1994. Humphrey did in fact become a successful writer. His first novel, Home from the Hill, was published in 1958, and Alfred Knopf called it the finest novel ever to come out of Texas. His next book, written in Italy, was The Ordways, which was reprinted six times, and numbers of his short stories appeared in The Sewanee Review and Accent.
THEROUX, PAUL. Corrected Typescript of an Essay on Tom Dooley, 10 pages, 1987. Heavily annotated and corrected throughout by the author and apparently unpublished. Tom Dooley - "The nearer (sic) I have ever come to believing in a hero in high school" (sic) - was a doctor and highly respected officer in the U.S. Navy, from which he resigned in 1956 following allegations of being homosexual. He devoted the rest of his life to charitable works in Laos and Vietnam although he was also reputed to be working with the CIA, but evidently not as an agent. A life-long Roman Catholic, he was visited by Cardinal Spellman a few days before his untimely death from a malignant melanoma in 1961. A subsequent move for his sanctification was not successful. Signed and dated by the author at the top of the first page.
VIDAL, GORE. A.l.s. to his editor, Ravello, 1980. Approximately 30-40 words, to Nick Austin, his editor at Penguin, apparently declining a publicity trip: "Alas, I dont think I'll be able to strum the banjo in Sydney ...". Folded once, in excellent conditon.
(WESKER, ARNOLD). NELL DUNN. Original typescript of his speech awarding a prize to Nell Dunn for 'Steaming', 4 pp.,London, 1982. Numerous holograph corrections by the author. The speech was given at the Susan Smith Blackburn Awards at the Garrick Club. Light creasing, else excellent.
WOOLF, VIRGINIA. Typed letter signed to Sibilla Aleramo, one page, The Hogarth Press, London, W.C.1, 10 December, 1931. Whilst it may be pushing it to describe the recipient - the Italian feminist, novelist, poet, literary critic, journalist, political activist and campaigning lesbian - as the Italian Virginia Woolf, it is a temptation I find myself unable to resist. Comments graciously on an article on Orlando written by Aleramo and sent to Woolf and the recipient's willingness to receive one of Aleramo's own books which, despite her scanty Italian, she feels sure she will enjoy. Approximately 150 words, signed in full, neatly folded four times, but in excellent condition.
WOOLF, VIRGINIA. Typed letter signed to Sibilla Aleramo, two pages, Monk's House, Rodmell, Lewes, 2 August, 1932. See previous item. Thanking Signora Aleramo for sending some of her books and also promising to disseminate them among friends "who are better fitted than I am to appreciate their great merits" and with a postscript noting "I have just come down into the country from London bringing your books with me." Approximately 150 words, signed in full, folded twice, but in excellent condition.