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...
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.
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...
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...
Briefly compiled, and imprinted in Cheapside, by John Rastell, [A.D. 1529.] Now First Reprinted, and systematically arranged, with Fac-simile Wood-cut of the Portraits of Popes, Emperors, &c. and the Kings of England. 18 fine full-page woodcuts of the early kings of England by John Nesbit, one headpiece, & a number of small woodcuts in the text. viii, 299,  pp. Large 4to, fine cont. dark green morocco (some foxing), signed “Clarke & Bedford,” sides richly gilt with roll-tooled & dentelle borders, spine richly gilt, a.e.g. London: F.C. & J. Rivington, et al., 1811.
ARNOLD, Richard. The Customs of London, otherwise called Arnold’s Chronicle; containing, among divers other matters, the Original of the Celebrated Poem of the Nut-Brown Maid. Reprinted from the First Edition, with the Additions included in the Second. [Edited by Francis Douce]. lii, 300 pp. Large 4to. London: F.C. & J. Rivington, et al., 1811.
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...
Illus. (one double-page). 7 p.l., 195 pp., one leaf of colophon [with]: an additional suite of 70 etched plates (one double-page). Two vols. Large 4to, orig. printed wrappers bound in tan morocco signed “R. et R. Mativet” on front turn-ins, both covers with morocco onlays of elongated blue diamonds framed by contrasting brown onlays, spines (very slightly faded) with four raised bands, with blue & contrasting brown onlays, doublures gilt, watered silk endpapers & doublures, t.e.g., others uncut, slipcases. Lyons: Société Lyonnaise, 1929.
One of Dunoyer de Segonzac’s greatest illustrated books. This is number 21 of 30 named (“nominatif”) copies — for...
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...
Engraved frontis. & title. -400, 399-494, 497-556 pp. (complete). Small 8vo, cont. marbled half-sheep & marbled boards (joints a little rubbed), flat spine gilt, black leather lettering piece on spine. Stuttgart: Cotta, 1819.
First edition of this collection of orientalized poems, much influenced by the 14th-century Persian lyric poet Hafiz, and inspired by Goethe’s muse, Marianne von Willemer. It contains some unacknowledged poems by her. This book is part of Goethe’s late work and the last great cycle of poetry he worked on.
Fine and handsome copy. With the cancel of pages 7-10; the title of the poem on page 9-10...
Scroll (322 x 7800 mm.), recently backed with some careful mending. Japan: later mid-Edo.
The “Tale of Zegaibo” is a well-known story in Japanese folklore; it was included in the Konjaku Monogatarishu [Anthology of Tales from the Past], written in the late Heian period (794-1185). The story is concerned with the great tengu Zegaibo who goes to Japan from China in 966 determined to halt the spread of Buddhism in Japan. Eventually, at the direction of Nichirabo, the leader of the Japanese tengu, Zegaibo visits Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hiei, headquarters of the Japanese Tendai sect, where he suffers a series of...
18 leaves (including one blank); 22 leaves (including two blanks). Two vols. Small (233 x 177 mm.), orig. gold silk brocade binding, Tetsuyoso-style, over stiff wrappers, title labels on upper covers (labels also heightened in gold), with orig. stitching. [Japan: early Edo].
The creation of this splendid manuscript has been attributed to the wealthy, literate merchant Ryuho Hinaya (or Nonoguchi) (1595-1669), the talented painter and calligrapher who deeply influenced Hanbei Yoshida, Moronobu, and other illustrators of the 17th century. Our manuscript has all the qualities of the very finest Nara-ehon.
Hinaya studied painting with the famous artist Tan’yu Kano and poetry with Mitsuhiro Karasumaru and Teitoku Matsunaga. Hinaya founded his own school, which specialized in the elliptical haibun style of prose. The author of the poems is Katsutoshi (or Choshoshi) Kinoshita (1569-1649), related by marriage to Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the great warrior who unified Japan. Kinoshita converted to Christianity in 1588 and took the first name Pierre.
[Japan]: preface dated “1801” & first published in 1864.
A rare text woodblock that contains the complete preface of this famous book of waka poetry, which was published posthumously in 1864. Aruga (1662-1737), a student of Choga Hirama, member of the Nijo ha school of poetry, wrote seven important works of poetry. This woodblock contains three pages of text and one blank page. Both sides have marks indicating the pagination of the preface.
Fine condition. With wooden handles on each side to maintain the proper registration during the printing process.
Woodcut printer’s device on title. 4 p.l., 400 pp. Small thick 8vo, cont. richly blindstamped pigskin over wooden boards, one of the stamps with “H M” with the date “160[?]”, two catches & one (of two) clasps. Hanau: G. Antonius, 1607.
THEODORICUS, Sebastianus. Novae Quaestiones Sphaericae, hoc est, de Circulis Coelestibus & primo mobili, in gratiam studiosae juventutis scriptae. Woodcut on title, numerous astronomical woodcuts in the text, three folding printed tables, & one large woodcut plate. 8 p.l. (the last a blank), 320 pp. Small 8vo. Wittenberg: L. Seuberlich for S. Selfisch, 1605.
12 leaves of differing colors (gampi paper treated with gofun) bound in two “quires” & sewn together. Small 4to (240 x 179 mm.), orig. semi-stiff pale blue wrappers with mica woodblock-printed designs of reeds, orig. printed label on upper cover. [Saga, near Kyoto: about 1607].
The series of one hundred Noh plays, each produced at the famous private press in Saga, just north of Kyoto, were sumptuous luxury editions printed for the wealthy and enlightened merchant Suminokura Soan (1571-1632), in collaboration with his calligraphy teacher Koetsu, a leading cultural figure of his day, famous as an artist, potter, lacquerer, and connoisseur. They are amongst the...
An important and remarkable survival. “In general, the chonin, the bourgeois citizens of Edo and Osaka particularly, enjoyed literature that was light and entertaining: stories of love and intrigue, often with fantastic or occult elements; and verse that was very much on the surface, relying greatly for its appeal on word-plays that the nature of the language, with it innumerable homophones, encourages…from the beginning of the Temmei period in 1781, kyoka verse became a major leisure activity of the chonin and of some samurai…
“The Temmei vogue for kyoka — literally, ‘crazy verses’ —was a revival. The form had originated...
Engraved frontis. port. of Madame Henriette & engraved vignette on title. Title printed in red & black. 5 p.l. (incl. frontis.), 223,  pp. of publisher’s ads. Small 8vo, cont. sheep, spine gilt, contrasting leather lettering piece on spine. Amsterdam: M.C. Le Cene, 1720.
First edition, published posthumously, of the Comtesse de La Fayette’s personal historical memoir of Henrietta, Duchess of Orléans (1644-70), the third daughter of the English king, Charles I. La Fayette (1634-93), an intimate of the duc de la Rochefoucauld, was the author of La Princesse de Clèves (1678), the first modern novel of sentiment. She is considered to be...
Engraved frontis. & engraved title with a vignette of the author in Vol. I. 384,  pp.; 1 p.l., 470 pp. Two vols. Small 8vo, Vol. I in cont. marbled half-sheep & marbled boards, flat spine gilt, orange leather lettering piece on spine; Vol. II in a rather fine pastiche binding matching Vol. I. Leipzig: H. Gräff, 1799.
First edition and scarce. La Roche (1730-1807), was the first financially independent professional writer in Germany and her books were very influential. In 1783-84, she published one of the few significant early journals for women, the Pomona für Teutschlands Töchter. Through her daughter Maximiliane, she became the...
Précédée d’un à-propos de l’Auteur. Seven plates, each in three states. 2 p.l., 150 pp., one leaf. Small 4to, orig. printed wrappers bound in cont. morocco, sides panelled in gilt, spine richly gilt, dentelles gilt, a.e.g., signed “Chambolle-Duru.” Paris: L. Conquet & L. Carteret, 1902.
Number 20 of 100 copies on Japan paper (of a total edition of 400 copies, none for sale); this is one of forty copies with the fine illustrations on seven plates, by Edmond Rudaux, each in three states. Our copy has been beautifully bound by Chambolle-Duru and bears a presentation inscription...