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.
49 fine double-page illustrations, of which 25 are in rich color. 34; , 24 folding leaves. Large 8vo (270 x 190 mm.) in orihon (accordion) format, orig. decorated boards. [Japan]: ca. 1800.
Picture scrolls featuring artisan poetry competitions, called shokunin utaawase-e, are part of the picture scroll (utaawase-e) tradition. The competing poets are depicted with the clothing and tools of various occupations and, in the 13th-15th centuries, any member of the urban population could be included. It is an imaginary competition conceived by a single author, and the attribution to persons of various occupations is merely a device to allow artists to explore genre themes.
This manuscript, created to resemble a scroll but in accordion format, is particularly interesting because it comprises two versions of the same competition, using the same poems. The first series of pictures is illustrated in black sumi ink, and the second series is finely colored. The depictions of the same professions in the two series have very different images. The imaginary competition took place on a particular autumn evening in the year 1214 at Tohokuin in Kyoto. The participants included artisans and commoners, instead of aristocrats, and both men and women.
71 full-page woodcuts in the text. 27; 23; 25 folding leaves. Three vols. 8vo, orig. blue wrappers (wrappers a little worn), orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. Kyoto: Noda Tohachiro, 1744.
The “71 Matches of the Artisan Poetry Competition” has a long tradition in Japan, with a number of manuscripts, scrolls, and editions produced over the centuries; its origins are from the Muromachi period (late 15th century). Entirely imaginary, it was the largest poetry competition from late medieval time and provides an invaluable record of the professions of the period. There are only two early printed editions: ours is the second version...
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 Carrión’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 are...
20,  unnumbered pages. 8vo (200 x 130 mm.), printed thick paper wrappers. Madrid: Estampa Ediciones, 1991.
One of Carrión’s rare bookworks, posthumously published by the Other Books and So Archive; from a numbered edition of 300. This work, printed offset, contains a collection of text-based poems by Carrión employing the first three or four letters of the alphabet.
As new. WorldCat records only three copies in North America.
12,  unnumbered pages. Small oblong 8vo (130 x 200 mm.), printed thick paper wrappers. Madrid: Estampa Ediciones, 1991.
One of Carrión’s rare bookworks, based on a 1977 artwork with the same title, posthumously published by the Other Books and So Archive; from an edition of 300 numbered copies. The text, printed offset, presents ten syllogisms mimicking the form of poems.
As new. WorldCat records only two copies.
Scroll (268 x 7390 mm.), endpaper at beginning with gold-flecked paper & on verso a rich silk brocade, carefully backed & strengthened. [Japan: ca. 1800].
Shokunin zukushi [“Pictures of People of Various Occupations”] is a theme in painting and illustration that became popular in early modern Japan. While highly esteemed for their artistic qualities, these illustrations are also a valuable record of the lives of early modern urban dwellers.
Our scroll contains 33 paintings of artisans: a street performer with musical accompanist, a storyteller, shishi mai [dancers to scare away evil spirits], saru hiki [man with a circus monkey], a caretaker and his caged uguisu...
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...
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.
[Jerusalem & London: ca. 1832].
The complete autograph working manuscript of Alroy, containing numerous authorial corrections, revisions, and deletions throughout. Disraeli (1804-81), politician, prime minister, and novelist, had spent the years 1830-32 on a tour of the Middle East, including a seminal week in Jerusalem. It was on this tour of the Holy Lands that Disraeli developed a strong sense of cultural relativism. While Disraeli was baptized into the Christian church at age 13, at the request of his father, a Voltairean sceptic, this was done mostly for practical reasons (Jews still faced significant legal discrimination in England at the time and...
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...
Small thick 4to (184 x 154 x 84 mm.), modern silk brocade covered boards, a.e.g. [Japan]: early Edo (ca. 1660-80).
An exquisite album of paintings depicting the “Thirty-Six Female Immortal Poets.” These 36 female poets (Nyobo sanjurokkasen), which include Lady Murasaki, along with the “Thirty-Six Male Immortal Poets,” are a group of Japanese poets of the Asuka, Nara, and Heian periods selected by the nobleman, scholar, and poet Fujiwara no Kinto (996-1075), as exemplars of Japanese poetic ability. Based on these selections, painters produced albums and hand scrolls featuring imaginary sets of portraits of each group, together with samples of their...
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, 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 gravestones...
Woodcut vignette on title, printed in red & black. 96 unnumbered leaves (final two leaves blank, signature F bound after G), 8vo, attractive antique calf-backed paste-paper boards, spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. Strasbourg: T. Jobin, 1604.
Fourth edition, enlarged. The first edition appeared in 1577, a second in 1591, a third in 1597, and a fifth edition in 1623. Fischart (1546-90), was a German satirist and the principal German literary opponent of the Counter-Reformation. Indefatigable with his pen, he attacked all perversities in the public and private life of his time: astrological superstition, scholastic pedantry, ancestral pride, but especially the...
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...
4 p.l., 223,  pp. 8vo, cont. polished mottled calf, spine nicely gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. Bern: “In Verlag der neuen Buchhandlung,” 1772.
First edition of one of Haller’s works, written late in life as he became more and more conservative, defending religion against the ideas of the Enlightenment.
A very fine copy.