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Fiction: Vintage

Fiction: Vintage

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I Met a Man, Blankfort, Michael
81 Blankfort, Michael I Met a Man
Indianapolis/New York The Bobbs-Merrill Company (c.1937) NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good dj 
[good solid copy, light shelfwear, date and place of an earlier purchase in ink on ffep; jacket has a small chip at upper left corner of front panel, minor paper loss at several other corners]. First novel by the later-blacklisted screenwriter, set during World War I and telling the story of the friendship that develops between a German officer and an American spying for the British (in the guise of a German officer). 
Price: 50.00 USD
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The Brave and the Blind, Blankfort, Michael
82 Blankfort, Michael The Brave and the Blind
Indianapolis The Bobbs-Merrill Company (c.1940) NO First Edition Hardcover Good in Fair dj 
[decent reading copy, ex-lending library book but marked as such with only one stamp; the problem is the jacket, which has been trimmed slightly along top/bottom edges, and is encased in one of those old-fashioned jacket protectors with the black strips along top/bottom, then is additional glued AND taped to the endpapers, permanently I'm afraid; there's also some paper loss at base of spine, but it hardly matters]. The author's second novel, set during the Spanish Civil War. 
Price: 10.00 USD
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The Blood of the Arena, Blasco Ibaņez, Vicente (translated from the Spanish by Frances Douglas)
83 Blasco Ibaņez, Vicente (translated from the Spanish by Frances Douglas) The Blood of the Arena
Chicago A.C. McClurg & Co. 1911 NO 1st U.S. edition Hardcover Very Good Illustrated by Troy and Margaret West Kinney 
(no dust jacket) [moderate overall wear and external soiling, dust-soiling to top page edges, light bumping at several corners, one-time owner's name on ffep, bottom half-inch of spine cloth looks like it might have glued back in place after having been ripped a bit at the bottom spine corners]. (color frontispiece, 3 color plates) The first American publication of Blasco Ibaņez's classic novel of the rise and fall of a great matador, later the basis for two outstanding Hollywood films, both using the more marquee-friendly title BLOOD AND SAND: a 1922 silent version starring the gorgeous Rudolph Valentino, and the 1940 Technicolor production directed by Rouben Mamoulian for 20th Century-Fox, starring the even-more-gorgeous Tyrone Power. Originally published in Spain in 1908 as "Sangre y arena"; following this edition, it next saw print in the U.S. in 1919, as "Blood and Sand," in a translation by Mrs. W.A. Gillespie that was designated as the "Authorized American Edition" -- implying that this McClurg printing may have unauthorized. (This is mere speculation on my part, not based on deep research.) 
Price: 40.00 USD
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Birds Got to Fly; a novel in six parts, Blodgett, Ruth
84 Blodgett, Ruth Birds Got to Fly; a novel in six parts
New York Harcourt, Brace and Company (c.1929) Unstated edition Hardcover Good in Good dj 
[solid but shelfworn copy, top corners bumped/cracked (boards exposed), bottom corners less so, some discoloration to first few pages and last few pages of book, vintage bookseller's label on rear pastedown; jacket worn, various small tears, soiling to rear panel, minor paper loss (no text affected) at spine ends]. "Young and self-confident, Rosanne is transplanted from her native New York to New England. She has married into the Porter family, and with good-natured curiosity she examines her new relatives -- sound New England stock from north of Boston, whose reliability and well-being are explained by the family shoe factory, founded by 'Gran' Porter in the early days. But their stiff-necked ways are not her ways; and after the first shattering ecstasy of her love for Alec has subsided, she decides to do something about it. Too late the Porter family realize what is going to happen; helplessly, they stand and watch." Striking (but uncredited) dust jacket design. 
Price: 35.00 USD
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Pack Mule, Bloom, Ursula
85 Bloom, Ursula Pack Mule
New York E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. 1932 NO 3rd printing Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj) "C" 
[minor wear to spine ends, otherwise a tight clean book, apparently unread, vintage price sticker (from The White House, San Francisco) on rear pastedown; jacket shows a little wear along bottom edge and at top corners]. "The story of a man who was a pack mule for women," whatever the hell that means. Oh, I see: the protagonist's "idealistic sense of duty towards women swept him inexorably from one woman to another -- the prey of every woman who entered his life. Escaped from the tyranny of his mother, prohibited from marrying the girl he loved, he married Belle, an actress, whose talents declined as her vices increased." All of this builds to John's (of course his name is John) "final revolt," in which he "kicks over the traces" (like a mule, get it?). 
Price: 50.00 USD
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Replenishing Jessica, Bodenheim, Maxwell
86 Bodenheim, Maxwell Replenishing Jessica
New York Boni and Liveright (c.1925) First Edition Hardcover Good 
(no dust jacket) [moderately worn copy, some darkening to spine cloth, light bumping at corners, 1925 gift inscription (non-authorial) on ffep]. Early novel by Bodenheim, then a leading figure of the Greenwich Village literary scene. Despite some pre-publication expurgation by publisher Horace Liveright (who initially found Bodenheim's manuscript "filthy"), the book's depiction of its titular heroine's sexual adventures raised the ire of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, which led to a grand jury indictment of the publisher on obscenity charges. In the ensuing trial, in 1928, the judge ordered the entire book to be read to the jury, a number of whom reportedly slept through the juicier passages; they subsequently exonerated Liveright after only fifteen minutes of deliberation. 
Price: 18.00 USD
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Ashmorlands, Boggs, Winifred
87 Boggs, Winifred Ashmorlands
London Herbert Jenkins Limited 1925 NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good 
(no dust jacket) [moderate external wear, a bit of soiling to page edges, spine slightly turned, spine cloth somewhat darkened; withal a solid copy, with binding intact, and internally quite clean]. Novel about the titular family, "a fine, stalwart race of men and splendid women," and their conflict with their heredity enemies, "their neighbours, the Helsmuths, a race of dark and eveil men and wayward women. Julia Ashmorland, to her cost, allied herself to a Helsmuth. [Oh, THAT old story.] It was left to her daughter, Almira, to work out the destinies of the two lines." Winifred Boggs, who had written a dozen or so novels prior to this one (some under the pseudonym "Edward Burke"), and would crank out a few more before her death in 1931, is almost a textbook case of a best-selling author of popular fiction who has virtually vanished from the literary landscape. She is reminisced about, a bit, in a 1995 memoir by a distant relative ("Committed Observer: Memoirs of a Journalist" by Andrew Graham-Yooll), but beyond that, good luck in finding out much of anything about her. Many of her books, being out of copyright, are currently available in print-on-demand, but original printings are relatively uncommon. 
Price: 65.00 USD
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The Fanatics, Bonner, Charles Jr.
88 Bonner, Charles Jr. The Fanatics
New York The Mohawk Press 1932 NO First Edition Hardcover Good in Good dj Illustrated by (dj) "DW" 
[solid enough copy, but has taken some moisture at bottom at some point in its history, leaving light dampstains on the fore-edge and bottom edge, and the bottom part of the text block is a bit rippled and very lightly stained throughout the book; the jacket is intact but edgeworn and heavily soiled, with minor paper loss at several corners]. "A typical small town is the background against which the author has placed his American characters. The scene opens in 1897 with the Canterburys at their peak -- socially, spiritually and financially. Their life is healthily robust. Then Spooner, a male Carrie Nation, comes upon the scene with his preachments against all that makes for a normal, healthy life. With his entrance the Canterburys begin their descent. The struggle which takes place is that between excess of temperance and too much liberalism. The Canterburys represent exuberance and Spooner represents Calvinism. It is an American epoch which began with the Puritans in New England." 
Price: 25.00 USD
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The Last Twist of the Knife, Bonner, Margerie
89 Bonner, Margerie The Last Twist of the Knife
New York Charles Scribner's Sons 1946 1st Edition (A) Hardcover Very Good in Good+ dj 
[moderately worn book, some discoloration to endpapers, small stain on bottom edge; jacket is heavily edgeworn, a little paper loss at both ends of spine, several small closed tears] Very scarce mystery novel set in Laguna Beach, California, just prior to World War II. There's a bit of a Hollywood (or at least motion picture) angle to the story: "Paul Vincent, wealthy California sportsman, playboy, and philanderer, was stabbed to death with a carving knife while a little group of his intimate friends -- and one deadly enemy -- watched a motion picture of Paul's skiing prowess at Sun Valley." The author, who also had a brief and minor career as an actress (mostly in the 1920s) before turning to writing, was the second wife (and ultimately posthumous literary guardian) of dipso novelist Malcolm Lowry. 
Price: 100.00 USD
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Rainbow at Night, Bonner, Mary Graham
90 Bonner, Mary Graham Rainbow at Night
New York Lee Furman, Inc. (c.1936) First Edition Hardcover Good 
(no dust jacket) [decent reading/research copy, moderate wear to extremities, lightly bumped at several corners, a bit more so at top corner of front cover, some soiling to edges of text block, spine very slightly turned, hinges a little tender]. Novel set in a small fishing community on the outer coast of Nova Scotia, about an American musician who comes into town, ingratiates himself with the residents, and seduces a local girl, with unhappy consequences. A contemporary reviewer observed that the book "successfully captures the atmosphere and tempo and character of life in a remote province," but another warned readers to not mistake this "tightly written little tragedy [for a] novel of local color." 
Price: 35.00 USD
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A Woman with White Eyes, Borden, Mary
91 Borden, Mary A Woman with White Eyes
Garden City NY Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc. 1930 NO 5th printing Hardcover Fine in Very Good dj 
[book is clean, tight and virtually flawless, vintage price sticker (from the famous San Francisco department store The White House) on rear pastedown; jacket somewhat discolored (or dust-soiled) along top and right edges of front panel, with a couple of short closed tears at bottom of rear panel, light soiling overall]. "Hunting, drinking, lovers, cards, money. Caroline Merryweather had them all. At sixty, alone in a cold little New England farmhouse, she writes her story as she interprets it through the life of Maggie Dawson, the one friend she had really loved." A primary character in the novel is a mysterious Finnish doctor, who travels around the world investigating occult mysteries. [Note that the "Fifth Printing" is stated on the jacket only, not the book itself, which has no edition or printing designation.] 
Price: 35.00 USD
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The Romantic Woman, Borden, Mary
92 Borden, Mary The Romantic Woman
New York Alfred A. Knopf 1920 NO 4th printing Hardcover Near Fine in Good dj 
[minimal shelfwear to book, very faint spotting to fore-edge; jacket soiled and edgeworn, spine darkened and missing about a 1-1/2" piece from bottom of spine]. The author's first novel, "the personal story of a Chicago heiress who married into the British military aristocracy, [which] presents an authentic study of the growth and factors of social distinction in young, raw, crude Chicago and in contrast an authentic study of the cultured and debilitated English upper class." (Front-panel jacket quote from Burton Rascoe of The Chicago Tribune). It is not in the least bit coincidental that Borden was a well-born Chicago native who in 1918 married British Brigadier General Edward Louis Spears, who she met while working in England as a nurse during World War I (it was her second marriage). She remained Lady Spears until her death in 1968; Sir Edward served a couple of stints as a Member of Parliament, and played an important role in both World Wars as a liaison between the British and French armies. 
Price: 100.00 USD
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The Rose of Jericho, Boucicault, Ruth Holt
93 Boucicault, Ruth Holt The Rose of Jericho
New York/London G.P. Putnam's Sons/The Knickerbocker Press 1920 NO First Edition Hardcover Good 
(black and gilt decorated cover; no dust jacket) [front hinge starting, light dampstaining to covers, offsetting to endpapers, spine cloth a bit faded, gilt spine lettering rubbed but still readable]. Novel about a small-town girl who becomes a stage actress. A contemporary publisher's ad called it "a brilliant novel of stage life, with an unusual and unconventional heroine," also noting that it featured "a frankly daring discussion of the sex problem." The author was the second wife (and widow) of British actor Aubrey Boucicault, the youngest child of the famed Irish actor/playwright Dion Boucicault, and had herself been "on the stage" for a few years, including an appearance in a 1914 Broadway production of "As You Like It." (The early thespian activities of this book's heroine involve a lot of Shakespeare.) Smith, American Fiction,1901-1925, B-772. 
Price: 30.00 USD
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The Loaf and the Lilies, Bowers, Penelope
94 Bowers, Penelope The Loaf and the Lilies
London William Heinemann Ltd. 1948 First Edition Hardcover Good in Fair dj 
[moderate shelfwear, soiling to top edge of text block, gift inscription (non-authorial) on ffep, small vintage bookseller's rubber stamp (Bertrand Smith "Acres of Books," Long Beach, California) on front pastedown; jacket heavily worn with various chips, tears, creasing, etc.] Described as "an English story written in India" in the jacket blurb, its theme deals with "reincarnation and fate." The first of just two novels by this British author, who trained as an actress and apparently had a brief stage career in the 1930s prior to going to the Sudan (during the first year of the war) and subsequently to India, where she remained until 1947. 
Price: 75.00 USD
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Isle of Demons, Bowman, John Clarke
95 Bowman, John Clarke Isle of Demons
New York The Dial Press 1953 First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj design) Cas Norwaish 
[nice-looking copy, tight and clean, very light wear to book extremities; jacket shows minor wear at corners]. "This is a basic love story, woven into a tapestry of the glitter, intrigue and violence, of immense courage and over-mastering avarice against a background of 16th Century France and America. Pierre and Marguerite are caught in the age-old struggle of love against the arbitrary powers which band to separate them. They are both orphans, scions of great houses, immured after the custom of 16th Century France, she in a lonely castle and he in the adjacent monastery." She's got quite a dowry, though (great fortune, estates, that sort of thing), so her uncle/custodian offers to marry her off to the highest bidder, "the fifty-five year old humpback, Tournon." Meanwhile, Pierre's got his own problems -- and he's got TWO rotten uncles, a Lord Abbot and an Admiral. 
Price: 30.00 USD
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Life Makes Advances, Boyd, Madeleine
96 Boyd, Madeleine Life Makes Advances
Boston Little, Brown and Company 1939 NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Good dj 
[a bit of spotting/soiling to page edges, light shelfwear to bottom edge, minor fading to cloth near top of spine; jacket shows some edgewear, darkened with age, various tiny nicks here and there]. A particularly fine example of a "novel of retribution," this roman a clef was penned by a French-born New York translator and literary agent (known as the person who first brought Thomas Wolfe to the attention of Max Perkins at Scribner's) after she had separated from her husband, Irish-born critic and essayist Ernest Boyd. In the novel she is "Nicole," a middle-class French girl who, while working in Dublin, falls in love with an "intellectual rebel," and through him meets "the group of Irish writers who were forming the new Irish literature -- A.E., Colum, Orage, Stephens and many others." Then the couple goes to America, where they pal around with H.L. Mencken and other literary types. (Ernest Boyd had written an admiring book about Mencken in 1925.) Time magazine derided the book as an "old wife's tale" and "a self-righteous exposure of everything from [her husband's] lack of ambition to his dirty hairbrushes," also sniffing that "such human documents should be reviewed by a psychiatrist" instead of a critic. Ouch. 
Price: 75.00 USD
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The Pink Egg, Boyden, Polly
97 Boyden, Polly The Pink Egg
Truro MA Pamet Press (c.1942) First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Good dj 
DETAILS NEEDED. World War II-era political parable, somewhat in the vein of "Animal Farm" -- "a story that is, at one and the same time, both symbol and adventure, actual and romantic, satirical and completely engaging." Oh, and did I mention that all the characters are birds? The hero is Roderick Robin Jr., marked as a rebel from birth due to his having hatched out of a pink egg; in the course of the narrative he defies his family and gets involved in the Sparrow Movement, which is fighting for a new social order that involves the redistribution of apple seeds. As radical writer/journalist Josephine Herbst describes the book in a long jacket blurb: "The cantankerous, reactionary, docile, cocksure and doubting characters that make up the bird society mock and illuminate the grown-up world of men. Bird families struggle to keep up with the Joneses, suffer the humiliation of a wayward son, connive to overawe their neighbors and to keep their husbands and wives." The author's extensive left-wing bona fides (civil rights activist, anti-Fascist protestor, mixed up with striking miners in Kentucky, traveled through the Soviet Union to see how the Communist thing was working out, etc.) are laid out in a long biographical sketch on the rear panel. Mrs. Boyden (nee Chase) didn't start out as a fire-breathing radical, though: she was born into a prominent Chicago family, married a young lieutenant (from another such clan) in 1918, divorced him in Paris in 1930, and remarried him in New York in 1939. This would appear to have been her only novel, although she had published a volume of poetry in 1930. 
Price: 100.00 USD
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The Flower in the Gutter, Braby, Ion
98 Braby, Ion The Flower in the Gutter
New York E. P. Dutton & Co. 1951 First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Very Good- dj Illustrated by (dj) Dorothea Broby 
[moderate overall wear to book, some foxing on page edges, small rip in binding at top of spine; jacket worn at corners with some paper loss, chipping across top edge, a few small tears here and there]. A novel set in Berlin at the end of World War II and during its occupation by Allied forces in the postwar period. Striking jacket illustration by Dorothea Broby. 
Price: 10.00 USD
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That Last Infirmity, Brackett, Charles
99 Brackett, Charles That Last Infirmity
New York The John Day Company 1926 First Edition Hardcover Good 
(no dust jacket) [worn but intact copy, moderate exterior soiling, front hinge a little loosey-goosey but not split or detached; spine cloth dulled, gilt rubbed off but lettering still readable; altogether a respectable reading copy, but no more]. Novel about a rich small-town widow, who devotes her energy and fortune to the task of making good marriages for her daughters -- complicated by the fact that they're Irish, y'see, and thus not "Society." The third of five novels by this one-time New Yorker drama critic, who subsequently decamped for Hollywood, where he found success as a screenwriter and later producer (collaborating with Billy Wilder on no fewer than 13 films, in a complicated but fruitful partnership once regarded as "the happiest marriage in Hollywood"). The book's title, since I know you're wondering, comes from Milton's "Lycidas" (" Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise / (That last infirmity of noble mind) / To scorn delights and live laborious days"). 
Price: 35.00 USD
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"Don't, Mr. Disraeli!", Brahms, Caryl, and S.J. Simon
100 Brahms, Caryl, and S.J. Simon "Don't, Mr. Disraeli!"
New York G. P. Putnam's Sons (c.1941) First American Edition Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dj Illustrated by (dj) Hewes 
[light shelfwear and minor soiling to bottom edge, some darkening to yellow cloth along hinges, internally quite clean; jacket lightly soiled, spine somewhat darkened and a bit mottled, one tiny chip at top of front panel, a little paper loss at top of spine (no text affected)]. Pre-postmodernist metafictional fluff by this wacky duo, which (according to their prefatory "Explanation") "is not a novel set in the Victorian age: it is a novel set in its literature. The characters move against a background of books read by the authors, and their adventures and pinned into time by glimpses of the giants of that era. The story progresses in a straight, if not orderly, line, but around it revolves a kaleidoscope of Victorian events; and, as the pattern changes, any event in this period may come into focus, bearing no relation to the date at which it occurred, except that broadly speaking it will have taken place between 1800-1900. This device has enabled the authors to prolong the life of some famous men and women and allow others to live before they have yet been born. In addition this treaty with time has made it possible for the authors to introduce a few beloved giants from their own age. Walt Disney, Thomas Beecham, John Gielgud, Noel Coward take their place in the pattern with Lady Caroline Lamb, Mr. Disraeli, and Lewis Carroll, while the Marx Brothers whirl the kaleidoscope around." (Sounds to me like a case for Thursday Next!) 
Price: 65.00 USD
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Thunder in the Heart, Weldon, John Lee
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