88,  pp. Small 4to, orig. blue cloth, uncut & unopened. Tokyo: Noda Shobo, 1936.
First separate edition, limited to 170 copies, originally published in 1918 in two newspapers. Akutagawa (1892-1927), is today most famous for having written the story “In the Grove” which was the basis for the classic film Rashomon by Kurosawa. The theme of the present story is concerned with artistic obsession. It was dramatized by Mishima in 1953 and made into a movie — Portrait of Hell — in 1969.
Fine copy in the original slipcase. This limited edition is printed on fine handmade paper with a watermark reproducing the author’s signature. The binding and original...
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88,  pp. Small 4to, orig. blue cloth, uncut & unopened. Tokyo: Noda Shobo, 1936.
Finely colored title & 12 colored tipped-in plates by Ryuichi Oana. 1 p.l., 160 pp., one leaf of colophon. Small folio, orig. yellow cloth with pictorial medallions inset into each cover, orig. glassine wrapper & slipcase. Tokyo: Kaizosha, 1928.
First edition, posthumously published, of this beautiful book, a collection of fairy tales, including the famous story “Kumo no ito” [“The Spider’s Thread”]. Akutagawa (1892-1927), is today most famous for having written the story “In the Grove” which was the basis for the classic film Rashomon by Kurosawa.
Fine copy of an example of luxurious Japanese bookmaking.
1 p.l., 73 pp. Small 8vo, attractive modern marbled wrappers. Göttingen: F.E. Huth, 1824.
The very rare sale catalogue of the library of Suchfort (1747-1824), classical scholar and rector of the Göttingen gymnasium. In 1771, he published a book on Stesichorus (ca. 630–555 B.C.), the first great lyric poet of the West. The catalogue has 1643 lots, and there are multiple items in a number of the lots. The library was very largely devoted to classical studies and philology. The final lot lists Suchfort’s dactyliotheca.
Fine copy. We find no copy outside of Germany.
8 p.l., 164,  pp. 8vo, 19th-cent. red pebbled morocco (minor foxing), a.e.g. London: W. Pearson for T. Osborne, 1730.
First edition in English of Behrens’ Hercynia Curiosa (1703). “Very scarce. A personal narrative of an excursion through northern Germany. The book is interesting for its account of the geology and fossils of the region, and also the author took a special interest in the mineral wealth of the region. Therefore, this work is principally a description of the various mines, quarries, and caves he chanced to visit. Of great value for reporting the state of the mining and metallurgy of...
96 unnumbered pages. Thick 8vo (210 x 150 mm.), semi-stiff printed wrappers. Geneva: Editions Héros-Limite, 2005.
The scarce second edition of Ulises Carrion’s famous Arguments (1st ed.: 1973, published by the Beau Geste Press). In the Getty Research Institute exhibition catalogue Artists and Their Books, Books and Their Artists (2018), Zanna Gilbert writes (about the first edition): “Carrión humorously interrogates the structure and content of books and the literary devices used by authors and playwrights. The titular exchanges in Arguments are indicated only by the names of the participants, with no reference to the actual content of their disagreements. The distinctly Anglophone names...
Engraved vignette on title & one large folding engraved plate (a little frayed at inner margin). xxxx, 78 pp. 8vo, cont. half-sheep & speckled boards (two corners a little worn, a little worming to covers), spine gilt. Moscow: “bey der Typographischen Gesellschafft,” 1785.
First edition of this translation, printed in Moscow, and edited anonymously. Cebes of Thebes (ca. 430-350 B.C.E.) was a member of Socrates’ inner circle. One of the speakers in the Phaedo of Plato, he was represented as an earnest seeker after virtue and truth, keen in argument and cautious in decision. One of the dialogues that has been attributed to him...
Engraved frontis. port. of Cervantes by Virtue, several engraved head-pieces, & 67 engraved plates. xxiii, , [xxv]-xxxii, vi, , 90,  (first leaf a blank), 355 pp.; xii, 388 pp. Two vols. Large 4to, cont. speckled calf (joints very expertly repaired), spines gilt, brown & green morocco lettering pieces on spines. London: J. & R. Tonson & R. Dodsley, 1742.
First edition of this esteemed translation and a wonderful association copy; this set belonged to Edward Gibbon and bears his bookplate in each volume. Gibbon was known for the wide range of his reading and he refers to this work in several of his letters and writings. He clearly liked this...
Two parts in one vol. Small folio, orig. wrappers (somewhat tired & a little soiled, some light staining & soiling here & there), manuscript title on upper cover, later stitching. [Hansong (Seoul): Kyujanggak (the Royal Library), Preface dated 1793 & 1796].
First edition of this handsome and large-format (323 x 217 mm.) royal publication. King Chongjo (1752-1800), was one of the most intellectual and enlightened of the Korean monarchs. Perhaps Korea’s greatest bibliophile, as royal patron he supported all aspects of the book: typographers, printers, authors, librarians, and lexicographers. A number of “royal” editions were published under his auspices. He founded the Kyujanggak Library in 1776...
Illuminated manuscript, written in Latin on vellum. Italy, Florence, ca. 1450-1460. 241 x 171 mm. (justification: 157 x 96 mm.), vellum, 42 leaves & modern pastedown with flyleaves in front and back. Collation: I-III10, IV10+2 (added bifolium, fols. 40-41), perpendicular catchwords in lower margin; one column of 28 lines (ruled in blind), written in black ink in a fine Littera Humanistica. The hand tends to write smaller in the 2nd text (see fol. 22 and ff.), rubrics in red by the same hand, in texts and in margins (fol. 3, citations in Greek), 8 three- to five-line golden initials on...
Three vols. 12mo, bound in cont. German brown morocco for Duke William of Brunswick (1806-84), with his elaborate arms inlaid on all six covers, sides elaborately gilt, spines richly gilt, a.e.g. Paris: Baudry, 1825.
First edition to be printed on the Continent. Certainly no other copy of The Spy has ever been bound in such an “over the top” fashion.
Very fine set with the elaborately gilt bookplate of Duke William [Wilhelm], nephew of King George III of Britain, in each volume. The first volume lacks the half-title.
viii, 370 pp.; 2 p.l., 314 pp. Two vols. 8vo, cont. half-calf & marbled boards (minor foxing), spines stamped in blind & gilt, green leather lettering pieces on spines. Paris: Charpentier & Dumont, 1833.
First edition. Desbordes-Valmore (1786-1859), poet, novelist, actress, and singer, is one of the founders of French romantic poetry. Her friend Balzac used her as the model for the title character of La Cousine Bette. She had a difficult and complicated life which is reflected in this autobiographical novel based on her stay, in 1808, with her uncle, the painter Constant Desbordes, in the old Capuchin monastery that he shared with other artists...
2 p.l., 310 pp.; 2 p.l., 315 pp. Two vols. 8vo, cont. green sheep-backed green boards maroquiné, single gilt fillet round sides, flat spines gilt. Paris: G. Barba, 1842.
First edition in French of Dickens’ Old Curiosity Shop. Rare.
Fine set, signed by Prince Dietrichstein on the free front endpapers.
Many black & white illus. xii, 377 pp. 8vo, pictorial semi-stiff wrappers, perfect-bound. New York: Granary, 1995.
First softcover edition of Johanna Drucker’s invaluable contribution to the literature on artists’ books/artists’ publications/bookworks. This book is largely based on her research of artists’ books in the New York Public Library collection.
Near fine copy.
Four vols. Small 8vo, cont. green sheep-backed green boards maroquiné, single gilt fillet round sides, flat spines gilt. Paris: P. Baudouin, 1835.
First edition in French of this collection of four short novels by Edgeworth (1767-1849). Élise Voïart (1786–1866), translator of many English and German works into French, was also a novelist.
Fine set, signed by Prince Dietrichstein on the free front endpapers. WorldCat locates no set in North America.
1 p.l., 59 pp., 4 pages of engraved music printing. 8vo, cont. dark red morocco (minor foxing), a.e.g. Paris: la Veuve Allouel, 1741.
First edition; this is, according to Grove, one of the two best early comic operas by Favart (1710-92), the most prominent member of a French family of dramatists, singers, and actors active in musical theater. Favart was a librettist, playwright, and impresario. This copy was presented to the Académie Française and bears the following inscription on a free front-endpaper: “Pigansé de la part de l’auteur a l’Academie le Lundi huitième May 1741.” On the following three pages is...
Color illus. throughout. 220 unnumbered pages. Oblong 4to (222 x 305 mm.), orig. cloth covered boards, title on spine & upper cover. Brooklyn, NY: Trying to Press, 2016.
An uncommon artist’s book based on Finch’s 2015 Marfa Contemporary exhibition of the same name; printed in an edition of 500, and signed by the artist in orange pencil on the first blank leaf.
Referring to Leopold Bloom’s journey around Dublin, Spencer Finch recounts his peregrinations in New York City on 19 September 2014 through a selection of ca. 1400 Pantone color swatches. Each swatch, with adjacent text revealing what is evoked, conveys sights as mundane as...
23 leaves. Small 8vo, attractive antique calf-backed paste-paper boards, spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. N.p.: 1601.
Third edition; there were editions of 1594, 1596, our edition of 1601, and 1611. All are very rare, and there is no copy of any of these editions in North America. “Ritterorden des Podagrischen Fluss (Order of the Gouty Humor) is an allegorical poem which was composed in German by Georg Fleissner, a captain from Schoenberg, then residing in Schlackenwerth. These are two small Bohemian towns near Carlsbad. Its 1088 lines make this by far the longest poem about the gout. The...
18 vols. Small 8vo, various orig. wrappers or self-bound. Bamberg & Würzberg: 1809-1818.
Joseph Martin Goebhardt (1709-57) founded this bookselling company about 1747,the year he issued his first catalogue. He was succeeded by his son Tobias (1734-94), who capitalized on the demand for Italian and French works, regardless of their contents or the controversy they might cause with German censors. The Goebhardts were among the first in Germany to publish works by Diderot, d’Alembert, Helvetius, etc. Their considerable trade and publication of foreign books made them one of the primary conduits of French-German cultural exchange in the mid-18th century. This caused...
40 parts in 12 vols. 8vo, orig. brown wrappers, new stitching. [China]: Liang yi tang, 1763.
A rare edition of this anthology of early Chinese writings, collected by Yu Han (766-824), “a major figure in the history of Chinese literature, comparable in stature to Dante, Shakespeare, or Goethe in their respective literary traditions. He was among that small group of writers whose works not only became classics of the language — required reading for all those with claims to literacy in succeeding generations — but whose writings redefine and change the course of the tradition itself. Although Han Yu is best-known as a....
14 parts in 13 vols. Large 8vo, orig. patterned wrappers (rubbed), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers (rubbed), new stitching. [Japan: 1648-52].
An early and rare edition of this highly influential commentary on the Tsurezuregusa [Notes from Leisure Hours] of Kenko Yoshida (ca. 1282-1350). Yoshida’s greatest masterpiece, it is a nonfictional prose work — zuihitsu — containing miscellaneous reflections and observations that continues to be read and loved today. “It can be said that Kenko discovered a couple of centuries before Montaigne that prose was the natural medium for conveying the motions of an inquiring, particularly a self-inquiring, mind. It is...
Ten vertical lines per page, 19 characters per line. 44; 60; 53 folding leaves & 57; 62; 64 folding leaves. Three vols. of Hogen Monogatari & three vols. of Heiji Monogatari, issued together. Large 8vo (283 x 208), orig. dark wrappers dyed with persimmon juice (shibubiki), new stitching. [Japan: privately printed with movable type, mid-Keicho, ca. 1607-08].
There are several movable type editions of these famous war tales; ours is of the earliest printing but is an apparently unknown variant. Kawase states that there are two variants of the mid-Keicho “ten line” edition of these two tales. The first listed — but with no priority — has 18 characters per line...
76; 99 folding leaves (of which two in Vol. II are in manuscript, replacing missing printed leaves). Six parts in two vols. 8vo, modern wrappers (text leaves lightly browned), new stitching. [China]: Prefaces dated 1754 & 1756.
First edition, and very rare (not in WorldCat), of this collection of the poetry and prose of Ren Huang (1683-1768), one of “the foremost lyrical poets” (Ko, p. 92, see below) of the Guangdong region and a member of the artistic circle whose center was Gu Erniang, a famous woman inkstone carver whose shop was located in Zhuanszhu Lane in the imperial city of Suzhou. This collectors and...
Ten columns per page, 20 characters per column. 52 folding leaves. Large 8vo (280 x 203 mm.), later wrappers, new stitching. [Japan]: colophon dated “1564.”
The earliest surviving edition of one of the “two priceless records of the earlier stages of the Chinese language.”–Edwin G. Pulleyblank, “Qieyun and Yunjing: The Essential Foundation for Chinese Historical Linguistics“ in Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 118, No. 2 (April-June 1998), p. 213. The Yunjing, along with its predecessor, the Qieyun, were the standard pronunciation guides of the Early Middle Chinese and Middle Chinese periods.
This is a very rare book, with only three (or, perhaps, two) other known copies.
11 columns per page, 20 characters per column. Written in Chinese with manuscript Japanese reading marks. 52 folding leaves. Large 8vo (290 x 205 mm.), orig. wrappers (wrappers somewhat worn & rubbed), manuscript title-label on upper cover, new stitching. From the colophon: “Kyoto: Kotetsu shoin, 1608.”
A very rare movable type edition — not in WorldCat or NIJL — of one of the “two priceless records of the earlier stages of the Chinese language.”–Edwin G. Pulleyblank, “Qieyun and Yunjing: The Essential Foundation for Chinese Historical Linguistics“ in Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 118, No. 2 (April-June 1998), p. 213. The Yunjing, along with its predecessor...