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The crème de la crème of our online inventory, the best rare books that belong in the best rare book collections...

Cover Image: Inscribed Photograph by FROST, Robert

Inscribed Photograph

Approximately 8" x 10" black and white photograph of Frost posed formally in... more>>

Cover Image: Anecdotes of the Late War by OLSON, Charles

Anecdotes of the Late War

First edition. Broadside, folded into stiff card covers as issued. A little... more>>

Cover Image: The Breastplate of Saint Patrick by KINSELLA, Thomas

The Breastplate of Saint Patrick

First edition. Full parchment. Fine in fine dustwrapper with a tiny tear. One... more>>

Cover Image: Damnation Alley by ZELAZNY, Roger

Damnation Alley

First edition. Fine in fine dustwrapper. A bright, as new copy, and very... more>>

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Book Awards

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National Book Award - Fiction

Cover Image: World's Fair by DOCTOROW, E.L.

World's Fair

Nobel Prize for Literature

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Nobel Prize for Literature

Cover Image: The Moon Is Down by STEINBECK, John

The Moon Is Down

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This Week...

This week in literary history.

1571 Italian artist and musician Benvenuto Cellini, author of a famous autobiography, died in Florence on February 14, 1571 at age 70.

1657 French author Bernard Fontenelle was born in Rouen on February 11, 1657. He attributed his long life (almost 100 years) to the eating of strawberries.

1775 English essayist Charles Lamb, best known for Essays of Elia, was born in London on February 10, 1775. He wrote a children's book, Tales from Shakespeare, with his sister Mary. She had suffered a mental breakdown eleven years before and murdered their mother with a kitchen knife. From then on she was kept under constant supervision and upon the death of their father, Charles became her guardian.

1804 Influential philosopher Immanuel Kant, whose works include Critique of Pure Reason and Critique of Practical Reason, died in Konigsberg on February 12, 1804 at age 79.

1809 English naturalist Charles Darwin, famous for his book On the Origin of Species and his theory of natural selection, was born in Shrewsbury on February 12, 1809. He first studied medicine, but was too revolted by surgery to continue.

1809 Abraham Lincoln, arguably the greatest President of the United States, and likely its greatest presidential orator as well, was born in a one-room log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky on February 12, 1809.

1828 English Victorian novelist George Meredith, author of The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (1859) and The Egoist, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire on February 12, 1828.

1829 S. Weir Mitchell, a physician who wrote medical nonfiction as well as fiction such as the story "The Case of George Dedlow" and the novels Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker and The Red City, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 15, 1829.

1837 Aleksandr Pushkin, considered the founder of modern Russian literature, died on February 10, 1837 at age 37 after being mortally wounded in a duel with Georges d'Anthes. Pushkin challenged d'Anthes after rumors that Pushkin's wife, Natalya Goncharova, had been unfaithful.

1856 Author and editor Frank Harris, best known for his memoir My Life and Loves, often banned for its sexual explicitness, was born in Galway, Ireland on February 14, 1856. He also wrote biographies of his friends Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw.

1864 British writer and humorist Israel Zangwill, author of several noted novels, plays, and mystery works such as The Big Bow Mystery, one of the very first locked room mysteries, and The Melting Pot, which popularized the phrase describing the vast mixture of immigrants in America, was born in London on February 14, 1864, although some sources also list January 21st at his birthdate.

1866 Humorist George Ade, remembered for his Fables in Slang, was born in Kentland, Indiana on February 9, 1866.

1868 Newspaper editor and journalist William Allen White, "the Sage of Emporia," for years the unofficial spokesman for middle America, was born in Emporia, Kansas on February 10, 1868. His image is used by the rock group They Might Be Giants.

1874 American poet and critic Amy Lowell, whose What's O'Clock won her a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on February 9, 1874.

1880 Novelist Joseph Hergesheimer, whose best novel is considered to be Java Head, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 15, 1880. At times his highly descriptive writing was admired and popular, but by his death he was largely forgotten.

1881 Playwright Hatcher Hughes, best known for Hell-Bent Fer Heaven, which won a Pulitzer Prize and was made into a movie, was born in Polkville, North Carolina on February 12, 1881, the tenth of eleven children.

1883 Sax Rohmer, creator of the quintessential "Yellow Peril" villain Fu Manchu, was born in Birmingham, England on February 15, 1883.

1890 Russian poet, novelist, and Nobel laureate Boris Pasternak was born in Moscow on February 10, 1890. His best known work, Doctor Zhivago, was widely hailed in the West, but it aroused so much opposition in the Soviet Union that he declined the Nobel Prize.

1895 Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest opened in London on February 14, 1895.

1898 German playwright Bertolt Brecht, author of The Threepenny Opera, was born in Augsburg on February 10, 1898.

1900 Mystery writer and screenwriter Lawrence G. Blochman was born in San Diego, California on February 14, 1900. Among his works was the Queen's Quorum title Diagnosis: Murder, and he also contributed to the screenplay for the film Bride of Frankenstein.

1903 Prolific Belgian mystery author Georges Simenon was born in Leige on February 13, 1903. He had published over 200 books under pseudonyms before he introduced his well-known Inspector Maigret in The Case of Peter the Lett, the first book published under his own name.

1905 Civil War general and Lewis "Lew" Wallace, author of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, died at age 77 in Crawfordsville, Indiana on February 15, 1905, probably from cancer. He wrote Ben-Hur while serving as the governor of New Mexico Territory.

1906 Paul Laurence Dunbar, considered by many to be the first great African-American poet, died of tuberculosis in Dayton, Ohio on February 9, 1906 at age 33.

1917 Novelist, playwright, and screenwriter Sidney Sheldon, author of Rage of Angels and the script for The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 11, 1917. He created the TV sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.

1923 Irish author Brendan Behan, known for his novel Borstal Boy and his plays The Quare Fellow and The Hostage, was born in Dublin on February 9, 1923. As a young man, he was a member of the Irish Republican Army.

1923 Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Alan Dugan was born in Jamaica, Queens, in New York City on February 12, 1923. His collections of poetry are all titled Poems followed by a number (Poems, Poems 2, Poems 3, etc.).

1930 Children's author and illustrator E. L. Konigsburg, best known for From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil Frankweiler, was born in New York on February 10, 1930. Before she began writing, she studied chemistry and worked as a science teacher.

1931 Sanctuary, by William Faulkner, was published on February 9, 1931. Unlike his preceding novels, which were more labors of love, he wrote Sanctuary, with its lurid themes and violent content (including an infamous rape by corncob), specifically to make money. It worked - for the first time Faulkner became known to the general public and his earlier novels became financial and critical successes as well.

1932 Prolific novelist and playwright Edgar Wallace died on February 10, 1932. At the time he was in Hollywood - he had been hired to write the screen story for King Kong but had not gotten too far into the assignment before his untimely death.

1932 Children's book author Simms Taback, who won the 2000 Caldecott Medal for Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, was born in the Bronx on February 13, 1932.

1937 Mystery writer Gregory McDonald, author of Fletch, was born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts on February 15, 1937.

1938 Judy Blume, best known for her children's and young adult novels including Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Forever, was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey on February 12, 1938. She is one of the most banned children's authors in the United States.

1939 Prolific author and editor Jane Yolan, whose works include the Nebula Award-winning short story Sister Emily's Lightship and the Caldecott Medal-winning children's book Owl Moon, was born in New York City on February 11, 1939. She criticized the Harry Potter series based on similarities between it and her own, earlier book Wizard's Hall.

1940 South African novelist and Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee, whose works include In the Heart of the Country and Life and Times of Michael K, was born in Cape Town on February 9, 1940.

1940 Scottish historian, stateman, and thriller-writer John Buchan, best known for his Richard Hannay mystery The Thirty-Nine Steps, made into a classic Alfred Hitchcock film, died in Montreal, Quebec on February 11, 1940 at age 64.

1944 African-American poet and novelist Alice Walker, who won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for The Color Purple, was born in Eatonton, Georgia on February 9, 1944.

1944 Novelist Israel Joshua Singer, best known for The Brothers Ashkenazi, died in New York City on February 10, 1944 at age 50. He wrote in Yiddish, and was the brother of the Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer and the novelist Esther Kreitman.

1945 On February 14, 1945, Kurt Vonnegut, at the time a prisoner of war, survived the fire bombing of Dresden in a meatpacking cellar. He and the other six surviving American POWs were put to work by the Nazis gathering the city's many victims and the experience formed the basis for his best known work, Slaughterhouse-Five.

1949 Arthur Miller's best known play, Death of a Salesman, opened in New York City on February 10, 1949. Miller died 56 years later to the day.

1950 On February 11, 1950, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s first short story, "Report on the Barnhouse Effect," appeared in Collier's magazine.

1950 Rafael Sabatini, author of such popular swashbuckling historical romances as Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, and Scaramouche, died while on holiday in Abelboden, Switzerland on February 13, 1950 at age 74.

1952 Scottish mystery novelist Josephine Tey, some of whose novels feature her recurring hero Inspector Alan Grant, died at age 55 in London on February 13, 1952. Josephine Tey was actually one of many pseudonyms used by Elizabeth Mackintosh, who also wrote plays under the name Gordon Daviot. Under the Tey pseudonym she wrote The Franchise Affair, The Daughter of Time, and A Shilling for Candles, which was made into the underrated Alfred Hitchcock film Young and Innocent.

1953 Children's book author Arthur Bowie Chrismas, author of the Newbery Award-winning Shen of the Sea, died around February 14, 1953. A recluse for many years, his body was found in his one-room cabin in Van Buren County, Arkansas and the exact date of his death is unknown.

1956 American poet and professional violinist Leonora Speyer, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiddler's Farewell, died in New York on February 10, 1956 at age 83.

1963 American poet Sylvia Plath, wife of fellow-poet Ted Hughes and author of The Colossus and Ariel, committed suicide in London (in an apartment once inhabited by William Butler Yeats) on February 11, 1963, two weeks after the pseudonymous publication of her novel The Bell Jar.

1966 Jacqueline Susann's best-selling novel The Valley of the Dolls was published by Bernard Geis on February 10, 1966.

1968 Librettist and playwright Howard Lindsay, best known as one half of the Broadway writing partnership Lindsay and Crouse, died in New York City on February 11, 1968 at age 78. He co-wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning play State of the Union, and the book of the musical The Sound of Music.

1975 Comic novelist P.G. Wodehouse, best known for his "Jeeves and Wooster" stories, died on February 14, 1975 at age 93. He was also a playwright and lyricist who worked with Jerome Kern, Guy Bolton, and Cole Porter. He was called "English literature's performing flea" by Sean O'Casey, and used this description of himself as the title for a collection of his letters.

1978 Swedish novelist and poet Harry Martinson, the first self-taught, working class writer to be elected to the Swedish Academy, died in Stockholm on February 11, 1978 at age 73. With Eyvind Johnson, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1974. He played a small role in the film version of his novel Vagen till Klockrike [The Road to Klockrike].

1979 Poet and social commentator Allen Tate, whose best known poem is "Ode To the Confederate Dead," died in Nashville, Tennessee on February 9, 1979 at age 79. He was a member of the Fugitive Poets, later the Southern Agrarians, a group at Vanderbilt University that published an agrarian manifesto, I'll Take My Stand, and also included Robert Penn Warren and John Crowe Ransom.

1981 Ketti Frings, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Look Homeward, Angel and the screenplays The File on Thelma Jordan and Come Back, Little Sheba, died of cancer in Los Angeles on February 11, 1981.

1984 Postmodern writer Julio Cortazar, author of the novel Hopscotch and the short story collections Bestiario, Final del juego, and Las armas secretas, died in Paris on February 12, 1984 at age 69. He was born in Belgium to an Argentinean family, and wrote most of his major works while living in France.

1986 Science-fiction writer Frank Herbert, author of the popular Dune series, died of pancreatic cancer in Madison, Wisconsin on February 11, 1986 at age 65.

1992 Journalist and author Alex Haley died in Seattle, Washington on February 10, 1992 following a heart attack at age 70. Haley had conducted many of the most notable interviews for Playboy Magazine, and from this experience came his important biography The Autobiography of Malcolm X. His 1976 novel Roots, a fictionalized genealogy tracing his own ancestry through American slavery back to Africa, was a milestone of the 1970s, as was the acclaimed television adaptation. Haley won a special Pulitzer Prize the following year, though in 1978 he settled plagiarism charges out of court.

1998 The great journalist Martha Gellhorn, who reported on nearly every major world conflict during her lifetime, died in London on February 15, 1998 at age 89. Her marriage to Ernest Hemingway is well-known, but she resented the fame that came from it, saying in an interview '"why should I be a footnote to somebody else's life?''

2000 Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz died on February 12, 2000 in Santa Rosa, California at age 77.

2002 Jack Henry Abbott, author of In the Belly of the Beast, hanged himself in his prison cell on February 10, 2002.

2005 American playwright Arthur Miller, whose modern classics included Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, died in Roxbury, Connecticut on February 10, 2005 of heart failure at age 89.

2006 Peter Benchley, author of the novel Jaws, died of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (progressive scarring of the lungs) at his home in Princeton, New Jersey on February 11, 2006 at age 65. He was the son of novelist Nathaniel Benchley and grandson of Algonquin Round Table humorist Robert Benchley. Jaws became a highly successful Steven Spielberg-directed film, considered the first summer blockbuster, for which Benchley co-wrote the screenplay. Later in life, he advocated conservation, and has said that in an updated Jaws, the shark would be the victim, not the villain.

2009 American playwright and screenwriter Robert Anderson, best known for Tea and Sympathy and I Never Sang for My Father, died in New York City on February 9, 2009 at age 91.

2010 Richard Stanley Francis, better known as the jockey and then mystery writer Dick Francis, died in the Cayman Islands on February 14, 2010 at age 89. His nine year career as a jockey was cut short by an accident in 1957, the same year he published his first book.



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