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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: Invisible Man by ELLISON, Ralph

Invisible Man

First edition. Some spotting and modest foxing to the boards, a very good copy... more>>

Cover Image: Eimi by CUMMINGS, E.E.

Eimi

First edition. Tiny initials on the front fly, else fine in fine dustwrapper... more>>

Cover Image: [Manuscript]: One Lonely Night by SPILLANE, Mickey

[Manuscript]: One Lonely Night

Original manuscript of the fourth Mike Hammer novel. 253 typed paginated... more>>

Cover Image: The Autobiography of Malcolm X by MALCOLM X with Alex Haley

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

First edition. Front hinge professionally repaired, else very near fine in a... more>>

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This Week...

This week in literary history.

1478 English lawyer, statesman, and author of Utopia (a term he coined), Sir Thomas More, was born in London on February 7, 1478. He was the dedicatee of his friend Erasmus' The Praise of Folly and the subject of Robert Bolt's play A Man for All Seasons.

1564 Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe, author of Doctor Faustus and The Jew of Malta, was born in Canterbury, England on February 6, 1564.

1577 The English scholar Robert Burton was born at Lindley, Leicestershire on February 8, 1577. He suffered from depression, and wrote his most famous work, The Anatomy of Melancholy, as an attempt at treating it.

1764 Gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe, whose popular and oft-imitated works included The Mysteries of Udolpho and A Sicilian Romance, was born in Holborn, an area of London, on February 7, 1764. Despite her success, she suddenly stopped publishing at age 32.

1812 Charles Dickens, generally considered the greatest Victorian novelist, whose works included A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire on February 7, 1812.

1817 The great abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass, author of the autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, was born a slave in Talbot County, Maryland on February 7, 1817. He was the first African-American vice-presidential candidate, running mate of Victoria Woodhull on the Equal Rights Party ticket.

1819 English artist, critic, and writer John Ruskin, author of The Seven Lamps of Architecture and The Stones of Venice, was born in London on February 8, 1819.

1826 The Last of the Mohicans, the second and best known of James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales, was published in Philadelphia on February 4, 1826.

1828 French writer Jules Verne was born in Nantes on February 8, 1828. He studied law, had mild success as a playwright and then as a stockbroker, but today he is best remembered as one of the founding fathers of science-fiction with such seminal works as A Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and the entertaining Around the World in Eighty Days.

1837 Lexicographer and philologist Sir James Murray, creator of the Oxford English Dictionary, was born in Denholm, Scotland on February 7, 1837.

1848 French novelist J.-K. Huysmans, author of A rebours [Against the Grain] and La-bas [Down There], was born in Paris on February 5, 1848. He was also one of the foremost art critics of his generation and was one of the first to appreciate the Impressionists.

1863 British mystery writer J.S. Fletcher, author of The Adventures of Archer Dawe (sleuth-hound), The Charing Cross Mystery, and The Middle Temple Murder, was born in Halifax, Yorkshire on February 7, 1863. Initially popular only in England, he achieved success in America after he was praised by President Woodrow Wilson.

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

1867 Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the classic Little House on the Prairie series, was born to a pioneer family near Pepin, Wisconsin on February 7, 1867.

1874 American expatriate writer Gertrude Stein, famous both for her own writings (such as The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas) and her nurturing of the "Lost Generation" of writers in Paris, was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania on February 3, 1874.

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.

1881 Scottish historian and essayist Thomas Carlyle died in London on February 5, 1881 at age 85. Today he is best known for his epic history The French Revolution (from which Charles Dickens stole liberally) and for his mock philosophical treatise Sartor Resartus (from which Herman Melville stole liberally).

1883 Clarence Edward Mulford, creator of the cowboy hero Hopalong Cassidy, was born in Streator, Illinois on February 3, 1883.

1885 Novelist Sinclair Lewis, whose works included Main Street, Elmer Gantry, and Dodsworth, was born in Sauk Center, Minnesota on February 7, 1885. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Arrowsmith, but declined the prize because he felt his views of American life did not conform to those of the Pulitzer panel. A few years later he became the first American recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, an honor he accepted graciously.

1904 Novelist MacKinlay Kantor was born in Webster City, Iowa on February 4, 1904. His works included the Pulitzer Prize-winning Andersonville and Glory for Me, which became the acclaimed film The Best Years of Our Lives.

1906 Henry Roth, known for his account of the immigrant experience in Call It Sleep, was born in what is now Tismenitsya, in the Ukraine on February 8, 1906.

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.

1907 American novelist James Michener was likely born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania on February 3, 1907, where he was raised by his adoptive mother (who may have in fact been his biological mother, but that's a question for Michener scholars). He won a Pulitzer Prize for his first work of fiction, the story collection Tales of the South Pacific. He is also known for his well-researched, lengthy, and very popular works including Hawaii and Centennial.

1911 The poet Elizabeth Bishop, whose verse appeared in The New Yorker and other magazines, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on February 8, 1911.

1914 Experimental, postmodernist novelist William S. Burroughs, whose works included Junkie, The Naked Lunch, and The Soft Machine, was born in St. Louis, Missouri on February 5, 1914.

1915 Mystery writer Margaret Millar, author of the Edgar Allen Poe Award-winning Beast in View, was born in Kitchener, Ontario on February 5, 1915. Her husband Kenneth Millar, also wrote crime fiction, under his own name and later as Ross Macdonald.

1921 Betty Friedan, who started the "Second Wave" of feminism with her book The Feminine Mystique, was born in Peoria, Illinois on February 4, 1921.

1922 The magazine Reader's Digest was first published on February 5, 1922.

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.

1924 Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States, died in his home in Washington on February 3, 1924 at age 67, three years after leaving office. He led the US during the First World War, worked to establish the League of Nations, and let us not forget also declared the first national Mother's Day.

1924 Poet Lisel Mueller, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Alive Together: New & Selected Poems, was born in Hamburg, Germany on February 8, 1924. At 15, she moved to the American midwest with her family.

1925 Fiction writer Russell Hoban, best known for his series of children's books about a badger named Frances and his adult science-fiction novel Riddley Walker, was born in Lansdale, Pennsylvania on February 4, 1925. Since 2002, his fans have celebrated his birthday with the Slickman A4 Quotation Event (writing quotes from his books on yellow A4 paper and leaving them in public places).

1926 Richard Yates, who was collected but was largely a cult figure until his first and best-known novel, Revolutionary Road, was made into a film, was born in Yonkers, New York on February 3, 1926.

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 Avante-garde writer Robert Coover, best known for The Public Burning, was born in Charles City, Iowa on February 4, 1932.

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.

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.

1945 British biographer Lord Charnwood, author of important works on both Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, died in London on February 3, 1945 at age 80. He also wrote mysteries, notably Tracks in the Snow, under the name Godfrey Benson.

1947 American novelist Paul Auster, author of The New York Trilogy, was born in Newark, New Jersey on February 3, 1947.

1952 British author Norman Douglas, whose works included his novel South Wind and his obscene anthology Some Limericks, died in Capri on February 7, 1952. Douglas's curious life was seemingly one scandal after another. He married his first cousin (which wasn't a scandal), divorced her, befriended D.H. Lawrence and then had a feud with him, fled London after he jumped bail on a charge of indecent assault on a sixteen year old boy, and when he finally deliberately overdosed on drugs at age 83 after a long illness, his last words were, "Get these fucking nuns away from me."

1955 John Grisham, author of popular legal thrillers, was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas on February 8, 1955. His first book, A Time to Kill, was rejected by several publishers but his second novel, The Firm, became the first of his many bestselling novels.

1956 American children's book author and illustrator David Wiesner, who won Caldecott medals for his books, Tuesday, The Three Pigs, and Flotsam, was born in Bridgewater, New Jersey on February 5, 1956.

1960 Playwright and composer Jonathan Larson, creator of the musicals Rent and Tick, Tick... BOOM!, was born in Westchester County, New York on February 4, 1960.

1968 Mystery author Stuart Palmer, whose 1931 novel The Penguin Pool Murder introduced the popular spinster-sleuth Hildegarde Withers, died at age 62 on February 4, 1968.

1972 American Modernist poet Marianne Moore died in New York City on February 5, 1972 at age 84 after a series of strokes. Her Collected Poems, from 1951, won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Bollingen Prize.

1976 Berta Hoerner Hader died on February 6, 1976 at the age of 85, about two and a half years after the death of her husband, Elmer Stanley Hader. Together, the couple illustrated and wrote children's books, most famously the Caldecott Medal-winning The Big Snow. On her own, Hader had worked at McCall's magazine as a fashion design illustrator.

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.

1986 Senegalese historian Cheikh Anta Diop, author of The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality, died in his sleep in Dakar, Senegal on February 7, 1986 at age 62.

1988 Poet and member of the San Francisco Renaissance Robert Duncan died in San Francisco on February 3, 1988 at age 69 after a long struggle with kidney disease.

1989 American historian Barbara Tuchman, who won Pulitzer Prizes for both The Guns of August and Stilwell and the American Experience in China, died on February 6, 1989 following a stroke in Greenwhich, Connecticut, a few days after her 77th birthday.

1993 Author and illustrator William Pene du Bois, best known for The Twenty-One Balloons, died of a stroke in Nice, France on February 5, 1993 at age 76.

1995 American author Patricia Highsmith, whose excellent psychological thrillers included Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley, died on February 4, 1995 of leukemia at age 74 in Locarno, Switzerland. She had lived there most of her life after leaving the U.S. in 1951.

1995 American poet and novelist James Merrill, who gained widespread appreciation in the middle of his career with his epic poems Divine Comedies, Mirabell, and Scripts for the Pageant, died in Tucson, Arizona on February 6, 1995 at age 68 of a heart attack, a complication of AIDS.

1998 Mystery author Lawrence Sanders, who published his first novel, The Anderson Tapes at age 50, died in Pompano Beach, Florida on February 7, 1998 at age 77.

1998 Icelandic novelist and Nobel laureate Halldor Laxness, author of The Great Weaver from Kashmir, The Fish Can Sing, and Paradise Reclaimed, died near Reykjavik on February 8, 1998 at age 95. He has a small but appreciative English audience, and many felt his 1955 Nobel Prize would have come earlier had he not previously won the Stalin Prize from the Soviet Union.

1999 Iris Murdoch, author of such novels as Under the Net and her Booker Prize-winning The Sea, the Sea, died in Oxford of Alzheimer's disease on February 8, 1999 at age 79.

2001 Aviation pioneer and author of such books as Listen! The Wind and A Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh died in Passumpsic, Vermont on February 7, 2001 of pneumonia at age 94.

2006 British mystery writer Michael Gilbert, author of Game Without Rules and Office Party, died in Luddesdown, Kent on February 8, 2006 at age 93.

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.

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