Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Joseph Kramm The Shrike

The Shrike is a play written by American dramatist Joseph Kramm. It debuted on Broadway at the Cort Theater, on January 15, 1952, with Jose Ferrer as the producer, director and star. Kramm received the 1952 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the work.

The play is set in the mental ward of a city hospital, and revolves around a theatrical director named Jim Downs, who has been driven to the verge of insanity and suicide by his estranged wife Ann, who is the "shrike" alluded to in the play's title.

To outsiders, Ann seems to epitomize sweetness, kindness and graciousness. In reality, she is a bitter, manipulative shrew. Like the shrike, a small predatory bird that kills and impales smaller birds, Ann seems harmless but brings death and destruction to everyone she grows close to.

Ann married Jim in hopes that he would eventually gain fame, wealth and stardom, and so his lack of success galls her. Her mockery and nagging led Jim to an unsuccessful suicide attempt, by swallowing a bottle of sleeping pills. This led to his commitment to a mental hospital, where Jim finds that it will not be easy to secure a release. Getting out of the hospital will require the help and cooperation of Ann, who enjoys holding power over her husband.

Ann regularly visits Jim at the hospital, supposedly to provide comfort and love, but really to continue her hectoring and manipulation of him. She is also able to charm the doctors, who usually accede to her wishes and follow her advice as to what is best for Jim.

In order to win his freedom, Jim must give all the "right" answers expected by his doctors, and in doing so, he places himself utterly under Ann's control.

Julian Green The Dark Journey

Julien Green's book was of Malc's favourites.

THE DARK JOURNEY—Julian Green— Harper ($2.50).
Awarded. By Harper & Bros, to Julian Green, for writing The Dark Journey: $10,000.

The Story: Guèret was a huge stoop-shouldered young man, his full and sallow face had a fleshy nose, thick lips, grey eyes, a blighted look. He worked as tutor to small André Grosgeorge. Once Madame Grosgeorge surprised the two in the garish lesson-room when André was stumbling over his history. Guèret heard the softness in her voice as she called her son: "Come closer. . . . Raise your head and look at me." Then, clenching her teeth, she struck the boy suddenly across the face and with sadistic greed in her black eyes, watched the red mark fade. Horrified, Guèret could not help admiring her vitality.

Work over, Guèret decided to eat not with his wife but alone. He entered the restaurant presided over by Madame Londe.

Past 50, Madame Londe's good looks were on the wane. In public a studied smile corrected the arrogant sag of her mouth and she gave change like charity. Madame Londe supplied needs other than gastronomic ones. For her customers she was breaking in Fernande, 13, who sniggered when tickled. Angèle, older, reliable, was more popular. Only Angèle could answer inquisitive Madame Londe's "whys" about the customers. Somehow Madame Londe did not set Angèle to probe this reticent stranger Guèret. Yet it was Angèle who attracted Guèret nightly to the restaurant's neighborhood.

Guèret loved Angèle but at first he excited only her contempt with his tactlessness, her pity with his distress, her amused indifference with his bitter glumness at her lack of response, her fear with his broad but bent shoulders. "Naturally she had no illusions about what the man wanted, but by a monstrous caprice of her nature she resolved to refuse him everything because he did not despise her." She retreated in rage when he guessed her occupation. He let her go.

First rejoicing at the sudden aloneness, then mortified, he wept while the futility of the whole affair made him laugh.

Then a sexagenarian came and described how Angèle had come to him for money. And one night the customers at the restaurant exchanged obscene impressions. Now he knew he must be very distasteful to her since, definitely a prostitute, she had turned down only himself. He climbed into her bedroom after midnight, but she was sleeping elsewhere. In the morning he found her, took her to the river bank, twisted her arm to make her admit he disgusted her. She began screaming shrilly in terror and in equal terror he began beating her over the face with a convenient club. In his flight he joyfully murdered an oldster who seemed to be watching him.

News of these activities interested Madame Grosgeorge. As her son's tutor, Guèret had seemed such a shy nonentity. Now the sadist within her felt a fellowship. Secretly she harbored him in her house. When he confessed that he had killed for love she, jealously wishing to prove to him Angèle's hatred, let Angèle know that the fugitive who had scarred her was now at the Grosgeorge's. But it was another who sent the police. Angèle was now finally aware that her happiness was at Guèret's side. Seeking happiness, she died, Madame Grosgeorge shot herself, the police got Guèret.

The Significance is embodied in the reflection: "Happiness existed for him somewhere in the world, and he was distracted because he could not find it. When he ran after women it was this that he was pursuing." Only in the black sky could he find peace after the babble of human speech.

Detailed and accurate in his handling of externals. Author Green handles the human mind similarly. One François Le Grix, critic, has already said with more grace than fact: "Racine. Edgar Allan Poe, Dickens, Dostoievsky: one hesitates a little before putting beside these great names that of this young man, Julian Green, but it must be done."

The Author. In 1900 two Virginians were traveling through France when Julian Green was born to them. At 17 he drove an army ambulance, at 18 he was a French artilleryman, at 19 he was a University of Virginia freshman. Since 21 he has "devoted himself to literature" in France, has matured the French way, writes in French. His earlier novel, The Closed Garden (1928) was crowned by the French Academy.
Time Magazine 2 September 1929

The book has the following inscription: "Xmas 1946 To Margerie, Bonner, ---this weird (sic) touchstone - I believed (in my youth) I hope rightly--good" (Indecipherable inscription on front free endpaper.

Cecil Gray Contingencies and Other Essays

Cecil Gray (1895–1951) was a Scottish music critic and composer. He published books on the composers Jean Sibelius, Peter Warlock and Carlo Gesualdo, the last of these co-authored by the same Warlock; also a history of music, collections of essays on music, a play about Gilles de Rais and an autobiography.

He also wrote three operas: Deirdre (performed in part on the BBC), The Temptation of St Anthony (after Flaubert) and The Trojan Women. Wikipedia

The book has the inscription: "For Malcolm Lowry from Cecil Gray Capri 7/V11/48"

Malc and Margerie had met Cecil Gray when they traveled to Capri in July 1948. Malc also mentions Gray in a letter dated 2 March 1950 to Downie Kirk in which he says that he has been reading Gray in a "Concert Companion" that he had borrowed from the Kirks. The companion must be The Concert Companion: a comprehensive guide to symphonic music, Volume 1947, Part 1 edited by Robert C. Bagar, Louis Leopold Biancolli containing essays by Cecil Gray

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

John Goodwin The Idols and The Prey

John Blair Linn Goodwin (1912–1994) was an American author and poet, best known for his story "The Cocoon" (1946), collected in Houghton Mifflin's The Best American Short Stories in 1947.

Goodwin was a native of Manhattan and a world traveler. His other works include the 1940 children's book The Pleasant Pirate, 1952 novel The Idols and the Prey about Haiti, and 1963 novella "A View From Fuji." He died at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in January 1994.

John Blair Linn Goodwin (1912-1994) was a novelist, poet, and painter, as well as a discerning collector of modern art. The son of Walter L. Goodwin and Elizabeth Sage Goodwin, he was born in Manhattan, and grew up in Hartford, Connecticut. Later he maintained homes in Manhattan, West Palm Beach, Florida, and the Netherlands Antilles and socialized with a wide and interesting circle of friends that included the novelists Paul Bowles and Christopher Isherwood, the artist and poet Jean Cocteau, and the painters Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy, and Roberto Matta. Goodwin was born into a distinguished family of artists, collectors, and art patrons. The Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Connecticut, preserves a nineteenth-century reception room from the home of one of his forebears, and other members of the family have been generous donors both to the Athenaeum collection and to its library. His uncle, Philip L. Goodwin, was one of the architects of the Museum of Modern Art in New York as well as a member of its board of directors, and his older brother, Henry Sage Goodwin, was a highly regarded architect and painter. The Surrealist artist, patron, and collector Kay Sage was also a member of the family. This cultivated background informed and enriched his entire life and was a formative influence on his collecting.

A well-informed world traveler, Goodwin often wrote knowledgeably about places he had visited. His novel, The Idols and the Prey (New York, 1953) was set in Haiti, and his novella, A View from Fuji (New York, 1963) took place in Japan. He also published poetry, a children's book, The Pleasant Pirate (New York, 1940), and one of his many short stories, "The Cocoon," was included in a 1947 anthology of best American short stories.

From 1974-1977 the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe exhibited a selection of works from the Goodwin collection, thirteen of which are included in this sale. Upon Goodwin's death in 1994, his collection was inherited by Anthony P. Russo.
Doyle NY

The book has the inscription: "for Malcolm Lowry - with affection, respect and considerable qualms. John - July 53."

Malc wrote to Arabel Porter, executive editor of New American Library in 1953: " Thank you for giving my address to John Goodwin: I'd very much like the Idols and The Prey, from what I read of it in the second N.W.W. A strange, strange fellow." Letters Vol 2 Pg 650.

Andre Gide Strait Is The Gate

La Porte Étroite is a French novel written by André Gide published in 1909. It is a very sad and moving story[citation needed] which probes some of the complexities and terrors of adolescence and growing up. Based on a very Freudian interpretation, the story uses the influences of childhood experience and the misunderstandings that can arise between two people.

It was translated into English by Dorothy Bussy as Strait is the Gate.

The story is set in a French north coast town. Jerome and Alissa as 10-11 year olds make an implicit commitment of undying affection for each other. However, in reaction to her mother's infidelities and from an intense religious impression, Alissa develops a rejection of human love. Nevertheless, she is happy to enjoy Jerome's intellectual discussions and keeps him hanging on to her affection. Jerome thereby fails to recognise the real love of Alissa's sister Juliette who ends up making a fairly unsatisfactory marriage with someone else. Jerome believes he has a commitment of marriage from Alissa, but she gradually withdraws into greater religious intensity, rejects Jerome and refuses to see him. Eventually she dies from an unknown malady which is almost self-imposed. Wikipedia

André Paul Guillaume Gide (22 November 1869 – 19 February 1951) was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947. Gide's career ranged from its beginnings in the symbolist movement, to the advent of anticolonialism between the two World Wars.

Known for his fiction as well as his autobiographical works, Gide exposes to public view the conflict and eventual reconciliation between the two sides of his personality, split apart by a strait-laced education and a narrow social moralism. Gide's work can be seen as an investigation of freedom and empowerment in the face of moralistic and puritanical constraints, and gravitates around his continuous effort to achieve intellectual honesty. His self-exploratory texts reflect his search of how to be fully oneself, even to the point of owning one's sexual nature, without at the same time betraying one's values. His political activity is informed by the same ethos, as suggested by his repudiation of communism after his 1936 voyage to the USSR. Read more

Above image: Portrait d'André Gide par Théo van Rysselberghe Détail de La Lecture par Emile Verhaeren.

Sir James George Frazer The Golden Bough

The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941). It first was published in two volumes in 1890; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes. It was aimed at a broad literate audience raised on tales as told in such publications as Thomas Bulfinch's The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes (1855). It offered a modernist approach to discussing religion, treating it dispassionately as a cultural phenomenon rather than from a theological perspective. The impact of The Golden Bough on contemporary European literature was substantial. Read more

The book has the inscription: "Xmas 1943. Margerie with love from Malcolm."

Gustave Flaubert's Sentimental Education

Sentimental Education was Gustave Flaubert's last novel published during his lifetime, and is considered one of the most influential novels of the 19th century, being praised by contemporaries George Sand, Emile Zola, and Henry James.

The novel describes the life of a young man (Frederic Moreau) living through the revolution of 1848 and the founding of the Second French Empire, and his love for an older woman (based on the wife of the music publisher Maurice Schlesinger, who is portrayed in the book as Jacques Arnoux). Flaubert based many of the protagonist's experiences (including the romantic passion) on his own life. He wrote of the work in 1864:

"I want to write the moral history of the men of my generation-- or, more accurately, the history of their feelings. It's a book about love, about passion; but passion such as can exist nowadays--that is to say, inactive."

The novel's tone is by turns ironic and pessimistic; it occasionally lampoons French society. The main character, Frédéric, often gives himself to romantic flights of fancy. Read more

The book contains the inscription: "Happy birthday to Malc July, 1952 Margie"

Gustave Flaubert's Sentimental Education

Sentimental Education was Gustave Flaubert's last novel published during his lifetime, and is considered one of the most influential novels of the 19th century, being praised by contemporaries George Sand, Emile Zola, and Henry James.

The novel describes the life of a young man (Frederic Moreau) living through the revolution of 1848 and the founding of the Second French Empire, and his love for an older woman (based on the wife of the music publisher Maurice Schlesinger, who is portrayed in the book as Jacques Arnoux). Flaubert based many of the protagonist's experiences (including the romantic passion) on his own life. He wrote of the work in 1864:

"I want to write the moral history of the men of my generation-- or, more accurately, the history of their feelings. It's a book about love, about passion; but passion such as can exist nowadays--that is to say, inactive."

The novel's tone is by turns ironic and pessimistic; it occasionally lampoons French society. The main character, Frédéric, often gives himself to romantic flights of fancy. Read more

The book contains the inscription: "Happy birthday to Malc July, 1952 Margie"

Thursday, 7 July 2011

F.Scott Fitzgerald The Beautiful and The Damned

I couldn't find an image of Malc's Copp Clark edition of the novel. The above is an autographed 1922 Scribners first edition.

The Beautiful and Damned, first published by Scribner's in 1922, is F. Scott Fitzgerald's second novel. The novel provides a portrait of the Eastern elite during the Jazz Age, exploring New York Café Society. As with his other novels, Fitzgerald's characters are complex, especially in their marriage and intimacy, much like how he treats intimacy in Tender Is the Night. The book is believed to be largely based on Fitzgerald's relationship and marriage with Zelda Fitzgerald.

It tells the story of Anthony Patch (a 1920s socialite and presumptive heir to a tycoon's fortune), his relationship with his wife Gloria, his service in the army, and alcoholism.

Toward the end of the novel, Fitzgerald references himself via a character who is a novelist by quoting this statement given after the novel:

"You know these new novels make me tired. My God! Everywhere I go some silly girl asks me if I've read 'This Side of Paradise.' Are our girls really like that? If it's true to life, which I don't believe, the next generation is going to the dogs. I'm sick of all this shoddy realism."

While researching this post, I discovered that a movie had been made of the novel in the same year.Directed by William A. Seiter and released by Warner Brothers in their early years. This film, based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel published in the same year, starred Kenneth Harlan and Marie Prevost. It is 70 minutes long.
There are no known surviving prints of the film; it is likely a lost film. See more images here.

T.S. Eliot From Poe to Valery

See T. S. Eliot on Poe B. R. McElderry, Jr. University of Southern California:

It will be well, however, to look at the later essay first. “From Poe to Valéry” is typical of Eliot in many ways. Just after receiving the Nobel Prize, he delivered it as a lecture at the Library of Congress in November, 1948; in the next twelve months it appeared in print three times (1). Based on the well-known interest in Poe taken by Baudelaire, Mallarmé, and Valéry, the essay contrives an emphasis relevant to the contemporary scene, just as Eliot had previously made John Donne and the metaphysical poets relevant to twentieth-century poetry. The apologetic tone so frequent in Eliot’s writing is at once apparent. He is not attempting, he says, a “judicial estimate” of Poe, though parts of the essay, especially paragraphs one and four, do constitute an estimate, judicial or otherwise. Examined in detail, Eliot writes, Poe’s work seems to show nothing but “slipshod writing,” “puerile thinking,” and “haphazard experiments.” Poe’s diction is sometimes inexact, as in “my most immemorial year” and “a stately raven.” Yet Poe’s work as a whole is “a mass of unique shape and impressive size.” The “ordinary cultivated reader” (Eliot himself, of course) recalls a few short poems “which enchanted him for a time when he was a boy, and which do somehow stick in the memory.” Such a reader also recalls the tales, and notes their influence on detective and science fiction. But the impact of Poe on three French poets — Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Valéry — has been much more profound. Read more

George Eliot Felix Holt

Felix Holt, the Radical (1866) is a social novel written by George Eliot about political disputes in a small English town at the time of the First Reform Act of 1832.
In January 1868, Eliot penned an article entitled "Address to Working Men, by Felix Holt". This came on the heels of the Second Reform Act of 1867 which expanded the right to vote beyond the landed classes and was written in the character of, and signed by, Felix Holt.

Mary Anne (Mary Ann, Marian) Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880), better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist and translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of them set in provincial England and well known for their realism and psychological insight.

She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure her works be taken seriously. Female authors were published under their own names during Eliot's life, but she wanted to escape the stereotype of women only writing lighthearted romances. An additional factor in her use of a pen name may have been a desire to shield her private life from public scrutiny and to prevent scandals attending her relationship with the married George Henry Lewes, with whom she lived for over 20 years.

Malc's copy contains the inscription: "Malc from Margie love, July 28, 1951".

Malc also had a copy of Eliot's Silas Marner

Isak Dinsen Winter's Tales

In Isak Dinesen's universe, the magical enchantment of the fairy tale and the moral resonance of myth coexist with an unflinching grasp of the most obscure human strengths and weaknesses. A despairing author abandons his wife, but in the course of a long night's wandering, he learns love's true value and returns to her, only to find her a different woman than the one he left. A landowner, seeking to prove a principle, inadvertently exposes the ferocity of mother love. A wealthy young traveler melts the hauteur of a lovely woman by masquerading as her aged and loyal servant.

Its title was derived from Shakespeare's play, but the tales also contained references to folktales. 'The Pearl' was a variant on the Grimms Brothers' tale 'The Boy Who Set Out to Learn How to Shudder'.

Winter's Tales was smuggled out of the occupied country through Sweden. In the United States a pocketbook edition was printed for soldiers fighting in different parts of the world. The setting of the stories were prediminantly Nordic, but not exactly the present time.
Books and writers

Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke (17 April 1885 – 7 September 1962), née Karen Christenze Dinesen, was a Danish author also known by her pen name Isak Dinesen. She also wrote under the pen names Osceola and Pierre Andrézel. Blixen wrote works in both Danish and in English.

Blixen is best known for Out of Africa, her account of living in Kenya, and one of her stories, Babette's Feast, both of which have been adapted into highly acclaimed, Academy Award-winning motion pictures. Prior to the release of the first film, she was noted for her Seven Gothic Tales, for which she is also known in Denmark. Read more on Wikipedia

Malc's copy has inscription: "To Malc with love, Margie, Sept. 1952"

Honore Daumier 240 Lithographs

Introduction by Bernard Lemann. Illustrated with 240 black and white plates. Slim folio, natural cloth, New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, (1946).

Honoré Daumier (February 26, 1808 – February 10, 1879) was a French printmaker, caricaturist, painter, and sculptor, whose many works offer commentary on social and political life in France in the 19th century.

A prolific draftsman who produced over 4000 lithographs, 1000 wood engravings, 1000 drawings, 100 sculptures he was perhaps best known for his caricatures of political figures and satires on the behavior of his countrymen, although posthumously the value of his painting has also been recognized.
Read more on Wikipedia

Frederick Buechner A Long Day’s Dying

During his senior year at Princeton, Buechner received the Irene Glascock Prize for poetry, and he also began working on what was to be his first novel and one of his greatest critical successes: A Long Day’s Dying, published in 1950. Of this first book Buechner says,

"I took the title from a passage in Paradise Lost where Adam says to Eve that their expulsion from Paradise "will prove no sudden but a slow pac’d evil,/ A Long Day’s Dying to augment our pain," and with the exception of the old lady Maroo, what all the characters seem to be dying of is loneliness, emptiness, sterility, and such preoccupation with themselves and their own problems that they are unable to communicate with each other about anything that really matters to them very much. I am sure that I chose such a melancholy theme partly because it seemed effective and fashionable, but I have no doubt that, like dreams generally, it also reflected the way I felt about at least some dimension of my own life and the lives of those around me."

A Long Day's Dying is a mid-twentieth-century Jamesian novel that foreshadows many of the themes in Mr. Buechner's later writing—faith, trust, and the complex relations of family and friends. The story follows Tristram Bone, a rotund man of wealth and "organized leisure" but a failure with women, and Elizabeth Poor, a rich, charming, and beautiful widow and Bone's unrequited love interest, through a series of encounters with friends and family, affairs real and imagined, gossip, jealousy, and innuendo. We also meet Bone's servant Emma and his pet monkey Simon; the novelist George Motley; the arrogant and seductive academic Paul Steitler, Elizabeth's naïve son Lee, and her omniscient mother Maroo. Amazon

(Carl) Frederick Buechner is an American writer and theologian. Born July 11, 1926 in New York City, he is an ordained Presbyterian minister and the author of more than thirty published books thus far.[1] His work encompasses different genres, including fiction, autobiography, essays and sermons, and his career has spanned six decades. Buechner’s books have been translated into many languages for publication around the world. He is best known for his works A Long Day’s Dying (his first work, published in 1950); The Book of Bebb, a tetralogy based on the character Leo Bebb published in 1977; Godric, a first person narrative of the life of the medieval saint, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1981; Brendan, a second novel narrating a saint’s life, published in 1987; Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner (1992); and his autobiographical works The Sacred Journey (1982), Now and Then (1983), Telling Secrets (1991), and The Eyes of the Heart: Memoirs of the Lost and Found (1999). He has been called "Major talent" and "…a very good writer indeed" by the New York Times, and "one of our most original storytellers" by USA Today. Annie Dillard (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek) says: "Frederick Buechner is one of our finest writers." Read more on Wikipedia

Malc received a copy of A Long Day's Dyingfrom Henry Ford, a friend of Albert Erskine. Ford worked for Knopf whp published the book and sent the copy to Malc for his comments. You can read his comments in a letter to Ford dated 5/11/49 in the Collected Letters of Malcolm Lowry Volume 2.

Lowry also had a copy of Buechner's A Season's Difference.