Modern literature, featuring Americans in Paris at Swann Auction Galleries, Oct. 16

NEW YORK—On Thursday, Oct. 16, Swann Galleries will hold an auction of Modern Literature: Featuring Americans in Paris and After. The sale offers works from the “Lost Generation” of American writers who went to Paris in the 1920s and 1930s after WWI, among them Kay Boyle, Malcolm Cowley, John Dos Passos, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Robert McAlmon, Gertrude Stein, Glenway Wescott, and Edmund Wilson. It includes books written in Paris and throughout their careers, many of which are signed and inscribed, as well as related material.

Among the highlights by these expatriates are an inscribed and signed first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s All the Sad Young Men, in dust jacket, New York, 1926 (estimate: $25,000 to $35,000); a signed and inscribed first edition of Robert McAlmon’s first Parisian publishing venture, A Companion Volume, Paris, 1923 ($1,500/2,500) and Ernest Hemingway’s groundbreaking work of modern literature in our time, one of 170 copies on Rives, Paris, 1924 ($25,000 to $35,000).

Scarce Hemingway titles continue with a signed first edition of Death in the Afternoon, in a fine dust jacket, New York, 1932 ($15,000 to $25,000); a signed limited edition of A Farewell to Arms, New York, 1929 ($12,000 to $18,000); and the Hemingway autograph highlights include an ALS to Arnold Gingrich, editor of Esquire magazine, discussing business, life in Havana, fishing and other matters, Havana, 24 May 1933 ($6,000 to $9,000); and an ALS to friend Jane Mason, wife of the Pan American Airways Cuba director, mainly discussing his trying to work while ill, Scottsbluff, Nebraska, 9 July 1932 ($5,000 to $7,000).

A strong run of works by Glenway Wescott includes Like A Lover, first limited edition, inscribed to Paul and Eslanda Robeson, Villefranche-sur-Mer, 1926 ($1,000 to $1,500) and one of only 40 special copies of A Calendar of Saints for Unbelievers, signed by Wescott, Monroe Wheeler, Barbara Harrison and Tchelitchew, Paris, 1932 ($1,500 to $2,000). Among a notable group of works by Gertrude Stein are an inscribed and signed first edition of Portraits and Prayers, New York, 1934, and an inscribed first French edition of Picasso, Paris, 1938 (both $1,000 to $1,500).

Highlights by other important expatriates includes Malcolm Cowley’s Exile’s Return, first edition, New York, 1934 ($600 to $900) and Edmund Wilson’s I Thought of Daisy, inscribed to his Princeton mentor, New York, 1929 ($1,000 to $1,500). There is also a first edition of Transition Stories, a collection of the best pieces from the first year of the journal, signed by editors Eugene Jolas and Robert Sage, New York, 1929 ($800 to $1,200); and a full run of 17 issues of the scarce Lost Generation Journal, with many articles on Hemingway and other writers, 1973-83 ($2,000 to $3,000). Scarce signed and inscribed works by literary critics, biographers, bibliographers, teachers, family and friends of the authors appear throughout the section as well.

Following the sale’s Americans in Paris section is a choice selection of general modern literature. Featured items include a signed copy of Jack Kerouac’s first book, The Town and the City, New York, 1950 ($3,000 to $4,000); a first edition of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Boston, 1951 ($4,000 to $5,000); a signed first edition of Rachel Carson’s environmental classic, Silent Spring, Boston, 1962 ($1,500 to $2,500); and four lots of signed material by Saul Bellow including a 32-page typed manuscript of A Silver Dish, heavily annotated by the author, New York, 1979 ($4,000 to $6,000); and an edited proof copy of Herzog, signed, New York, 1964 ($2,500 to $3,500).

Genre fiction classics include a first edition of Raymond Chandler’s first book, The Big Sleep, New York, 1939 ($2,500 to $3,500); a bright first edition of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, Garden City, 1950 ($3,000 to $4,000); and an advance proof copy with a signed first edition of Stephen King’s Carrie, Garden City, 1974 ($5,000 to $7,500).

The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16.

The books will be on public exhibition on Saturday, October 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, Oct. 13 to Wednesday, Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to noon.

An illustrated catalog, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at www.swanngalleries.com.

For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Christine von der Linn at 212-254-4710, extension 20, or via e-mail at cvonderlinn@swanngalleries.com.

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