Recent Catalogs from Pryor-Johnson Rare Books


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Signed Modern Firsts II: Le–Wolff The second part of a list of our signed first editions.

Signed Modern Firsts I: Achebe–Kunzru The first part of a list of our signed first editions.

Holiday Hundred One hundred books for the holidays.

Greenwich Village Signed Firsts Mostly signed modern firsts, with some art & photography and some books about books.

Brooklyn Miscellaney A miscellaney gathered for Brooklyn in four categories: I. Antiquarian — II. Fine Press, Limited Editions and Books about Books III. Art, Photographic and Illustrated Books — IV. Modern First Editions.

Counter-Culture As we settle in our new downtown space we sometimes miss the Upper East Side. The Met was a good neighbor, and Crawford-Doyle, now of blessed memory, an even better land-lord and friend. But now we’re in NoMad, the goofy name for the erst canyon between the Flatiron and Herald Square. Perhaps we’ve changed as a bookshop, too; a longtime punkish-beatish streak has now emerged fully. Looking around in preparation for the Greenwich Village fair, we saw in every section — photography, poetry, even antiquarian — evidence of our love of iconoclasm.
Ironic, really, that a bookseller, whose job it is to cherish and to preserve, should so much enjoy the products of movements that rejected and protested and destroyed. Probably to their dismay, various counter-culture movements share much in the way of aesthetics. There is a current of starkness that belies profusion. Patti Smith perhaps exemplifies this best of all. There is a riot of progression in her photographs, poetry and music that makes her work from the 1970’s as compelling as that from 2017. Nan Goldin, Hunter Thompson, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Bukowski all, like Smith, questioned and rejected, and in so doing opened new channels in their art. We hope you’ll enjoy this selection of what they left behind, and get a better sense of their stances than you will passing the former CBGB with a wistful gaze.

Holiday List Our holiday gift to you, we hope you’ll find, is brevity. It pained us to winnow our tens of thousands of volumes to a mere forty, but we have done it. Doubtless you’re bombarded from within and without with myriad choices. Our usual lugubrious descriptions have been trimmed and tightened; condition is inclusive of dust-wrapper. On this score and on any other, we invite you to call us or to write, either with your orders or with enquiries. We have a great many more books in stock than these.

Photography & Warhol Fine photography, much signed, followed by an extensive selection of uncommon Warhol material.

Rare Book Week Some unusual books, some rather desirable ones.

Maurice Sendak & Other Books for Adults With this catalogue we celebrate Sendak’s work and the perfect good sense he made so much of the time. The first half spans nearly the entirety of his career, from A Hole Is To Dig (with Ruth Krauss, 1952) through to his first and only pop-up book Mommy? in 2006. Along the way we have an exceptionally rare page-proof of Where the Wild Things Are, a large dossier of publication and advertising materials for Outside Over There (which Sendak considered his finest work) and his two major retrospectives, edited by Selma Lanes (1980) and by Tony Kushner (2003).
The second half of the catalogue is a simple celebration: illustrated books are for adults! We don’t have to read words all the time! The themes of these “picture-books for adults” run the gamut: cocktails, the bible, hatred for a celebrated lexicographer, hard drugs. Much good illustration came from the Beats: Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Ralph Steadman (if we extend the label so far). R. Crumb is a rich vein; we begin with his absolutely magnificent Sad Book and follow his career through his sketcbooks from the 1960’s, the aforementioned illustration of Genesis (so dirty!) and the development of his daughter Sophie’s individual style. Beyond that we find the first appearance of the Star Wars story, illustrated Frankensteins and the macabre Charles Addams (of Family fame) and Edward Gorey up through Charles Burns’s X’ed Out, which we’d call a “graphic novel” if we hadn’t learned our lesson.

Curios, Oddities and Recondita This catalogue marks Pryor-Johnson’s first ABAA book-fair, and we thought we’d take the opportunity to gather some of our gnarliest, knottiest, most curious and recondite material as a sort of thank-offering to the great gods of bibliomania. As with so many matters of the book, what constitutes gnarl or knot is for the arguing, but we hope to intrigue on one front or another.
These are the books that make being a bookseller a bit like being a sleuth. Enjoy them, ask us about them, and please help us figure out why one might dedicate a book to a dead man!

Fine Miscellaney The first half of the catalogue, at least numerically, is modern: signed firsts, Beat literature and poetry, photography, art, illustration and fine press. The second half is antiquarian: literature, philosophy, religion, science, natural history and exploration. We are under no illusion that there is “something for everybody” but hope that among the treasures, whether a pre-publication copy of Hirschfeld’s Harlem, a first of Darwin’s Descent annotated by a great ecclesiastical apologist or a presentation copy of Harvey Frank’s Lines of My Hand to the late legendary bookseller Harvey Zucker, some delight might be found.
The republic of letters is all the greater for the variety of its topography. Its citizens spread themselves admirably, and where they cluster great temples are built. Here at our first Armory fair we offer some fetishes for the high altars and some oases, more remote, less vaunted, but for those who seek and dwell in them no less enjoyed.

Politics, Philosophy & Economics A catalogue of books relating to the three topics that constitute "Modern Greats": Politics, Philosophy & Economics (PPE).



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