1928. AIKEN, Conrad. COSTUMES BY EROS. NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1928. Small 8vo., blue cloth in dust jacket; 266 pages. First Edition. A collection of 14 short stories, each dealing with the emotion typified by the Greek God Eros. Signed presentation from Aiken (using his initials) on the front endpaper: "M.F. from CA. Coals to Newcastle back again 1928." [See scan]. I believe this book was presented to Maurice Firuski, who owned the Dunster House Bookshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was a friend of Aiken. In 1927 he started "The Housatonuc" bookstore in Salisbury, Connecticut specializing in rare and antiquarian books. The move may have inspired the presentation- "Coals to Newcastle" is a British idiom for a foolhardy or pointless action. Laid in is a copy of an e-mail from Aiken's grand daughter Lizza Aiken, who is the daughter of Joan Aiken. In the letter Aiken confirms the handwriting is that of her grandfather and that the "joke" in the presentation "is typical, so I think I can fairly confidently say that I think it is his signature, in slightly grandiose mood." With a small promotional four-page leaflet promoting the Jonathan Cape English edition of this title laid in. Very Good (contents clean & tight); minor wear (some moderate browning & two small interior tape repairs, price-clipped) d/j. $875.00.
(Inventory #: 4649)
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