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Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness - Edward Abbey, Peter Parnall (illustrator)

1968 - McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York - First Edition
A bright first edition of Abbey’s powerful work of nature writing and environmental concern, based on the inner and outer observations Abbey made during three summers at Arches National Park, Utah. His first book of non-fiction and most famous and defining work. Only 5000 copies of the first edition were printed, it has since sold more than 2,000,000 copies.

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.’

With drawings throughout by Peter Parnell.

The desert is... atonal, cruel, clear, neither romantic nor classical, motionless and emotionless at one and the same time... Like death? Perhaps. And perhaps that is why life nowhere appears so brave, so bright, so full of oracle and miracle as in the desert.’ 
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Price HK$ 7,000



The Yellow Book - Aubrey Beardsley

April 1894-April 1897 - Elkin Mathews &, London
A complete, clean and better than normally encountered thirteen volume set of this groundbreaking art nouveau publication, in the publisher’s bright yellow illustrated covers with designs by Aubrey Beardsley. Together with ‘A Selection’ published in 1950 and bound in yellow cloth to match the earlier set. Fourteen volumes in total.

From its initial visually arresting issue, for which Aubrey Beardsley was art editor and for which Max Beerbohm wrote an essay, ‘
A Defence of Cosmetics’, ‘The Yellow Book’ attained immediate notoriety.

Published by John Lane and edited by Henry Harland, ‘
The Yellow Book’ attracted many outstanding writers and artists of the era, such as Arnold Bennett, Charlotte Mew, Henry James, Edmund Gosse, Richard Le Gallienne, and Walter Sickert.

Although dominated by the illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley, and his decadent fin de siècle aura, many other distinguished artists contributed to the quarterly, notably Frederic Leighton, Will Rothenstein, Walter Sickert and Philip Wilson Steer; contributors to the text included Max Beerbohm, John Buchan, Baron Corvo, Edmund Gosse, Kenneth Grahame, Henry James, E. Nesbit and W. B. Yeats.
 
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Price HK$ 10,000



Wuthering Heights - Emily Bront

1955 - The Zodiac Press, London - Third Impression
An elegant edition of the classic gothic romance, set on the bleak Yorkshire moors. Finely bound in blue crushed morocco, by Frost & Co. of Bath.

‘My greatest thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and
he remained, I should still continue to be;’

Nelly, I
am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure... but as my own being.’

Wuthering Heights is the only novel of Emily Brontë, who died a year after its publication, at the age of thirty. A brooding Yorkshire tale of a love that is stronger than death, it is also a fierce vision of metaphysical passion, in which heaven and hell, nature and society, are powerfully juxtaposed. Unique, mystical, with a timeless appeal, it has become a highlight of English literature.
 
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Price HK$ 5,000



The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Richard F. Burton, Leonard C. Smithers (editor)

1894 - H. S. Nichols &, London - The Library Edition
A magnificent twelve volume set of Burton’s outstanding work of translation. ‘As a monument of his Arabic learning and his encyclopaedic knowledge of Eastern life this was his greatest achievement’ [Encyclopaedia Britannica]. The first editions to be published by Nichols and edited by Leonard Smithers, in bright intricately gilt decorated bindings.

This edition followed on from Lady Burton’s disastrous 1886 abridged six volume edition (without the naughty bits or ‘
Supplemental Nights’) and the original Kamashastra Society of 1885 edition whose facsimile title pages are inserted in their correct places (as Nichols fits the original sixteen volumes into twelve for this set).

‘...But when it was midnight Shahrázád awoke and signalled to her sister Dunyázád who sat up and said, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, recite to us some new story, delightsome and delectable wherewith to while away the waking hours of our latter night." "With joy and goodly gree," answered Shahrázád, "if this pious and auspicious King permit me." "Tell on," quoth the King who chanced to be sleepless and restless and therefore was pleased with the prospect of hearing her story.’ 
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Price HK$ 8,000



Advice from a Lady of Quality to her Children - Louis-Antoine Caraccioli, Samuel Glasse (translator)

1778 - Printed by R. Raikes and Sold by J. F. and C. Rivington, Glocester - First Edition in English
An extremely rare first edition of this 18th century ‘Tuesdays With Morrie’, first published in 1769 as ’Les adieux de la Maréchale de *** à ses enfants’. Two pretty little volumes In 18th century full calf bindings.

A popular courtesy book written in a series of twenty one ‘conferences’ held between mother, her daughter and sons. Topics covered during these conferences include Virtue, Pride, Generosity, Female Conduct, Friendship, Love of Truth, Brotherly Love, Study, Pleasure, Ambition, Vanity, Relative Duty, Patriotism, Social Duties.

Unlike most courtesy books, Caraccioli's has the semblance of a plot and reads somewhat like a novel, which ends with the death of the main character.
Advice from a Lady went through numerous later editions in England and America.

The Translator, Samuel Glasse, dedicates this work to Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), consort of King George III of Great Britain.
 
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Price HK$ 11,000



Oliver Twist; or, the Parish Boy s Progress - Charles Dickens ( Boz )

1838 - Richard Bentley, London - First Edition, First Issue
Please, Sir, I want some more.’

First edition in fine contemporary bindings, first issue with the 'fireside' plate’ (i.e. Rose, Maylie and Oliver) between pages 312-13, which was suppressed in the second issue. Illustrated throughout with frontispieces and twenty-one plates etched by George Cruikshank.

Dickens was severely criticised for introducing criminals and prostitutes in Oliver Twist to which he responded - ‘
I saw no reason, when I wrote this book, why the very dregs of life, so long as their speech did not offend the ear, should not serve the purpose of a moral, at least as well as its froth and cream’. 
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Price HK$ 32,000



1949-1951 - William Heinemann, London
A finely bound twelve volume set of Dostoevsky’s novels, first translated by Constance Garnett between 1912 and 1920, and now difficult to assemble in this format. 
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Price HK$ 32,000



The Life of an Actor. Dedicated to Edmund Kean, Esq. The Poetical Descriptions by T. Greenwood. Embellished with Twenty-seven Characteristic Scenes, etched by Theodore Lane; Enriched also with Several Original Designs on Wood, executed by Mr. Thompson - Pierce Egan, T. Greenwood, Theodore Lane (illustrator)

1825 - Printed for C.S. Arnold, London - First Edition
A finely bound example of Pierce Egan’s wonderful and amusing novel centred around Peregrine Proteus, and his various highs and lows attempting to pursue a career on the stage. Dedicated to Edmund Kean (1789-1833) the greatest of English tragic actors, a turbulent genius noted as much for his megalomania and ungovernable behaviour as for his portrayals of villains in Shakespearean plays.

Illustrated with twenty-seven hand-coloured aquatint plates by Theodore Lane and nine woodcut engravings by John Thompson (1785-1866).
 
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Price HK$ 15,000



 
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