FIRST EDITION OF THE LOST CHILDHOOD AND OTHER ESSAYS, INSCRIBED BY GRAHAM GREENE TO HIS FRIEND, ACCLAIMED WAUGH BIOGRAPHER AND AUTHOR CHRISTOPHER SYKES
GREENE, Graham. The Lost Childhood and Other Essays. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1951. Octavo, original beige cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom cloth clamshell box. $3750.
First edition of this important collection of essays, inscribed to his friend, Christopher Sykes (Evelyn Waugh's biographer, friend, and fellow Catholic convert): "To Christopher with affection. Graham."
"In almost all of the 23 brief studies in The Lost Childhood, whether it is criticism of a specific novel, such as 'The Woman Who Was Poor' of Leon Bloy, or a character sketch such as the one on the sculptor Eric Gill, Greene is primarily concerned, in his role of critic, with discovering what he calls the 'obsession' of his author—the one theme—and with illuminating the entire work by an analysis of the obsession. He sees every creative writer who has made any real achievement, as a victim, as a man victimized by an obsession. This is a difficult formula for a critic to follow but which, in the case of Graham Greene, is particularly rewarding… He is unmatched today among novelists in his extraordinary skill for analysis, in his uncanny psychological insights, in his ability to take apart the mechanism of man's inner life. He is pre-eminently the living novelist who is unable not to exaggerate the importance of the doctrine of original sin, which he sees as being the final explanation of history" (New York Times). Miller 28a. This copy is inscribed to Christopher Sykes, Greene's friend and Evelyn Waugh's biographer. While primarily known as an author, Sykes' early career was interrupted by high-level military service in the SOE and SAS during World War II. In addition to his biography of Waugh, Sykes also wrote Crossroads to Israel, several novels, and biographies of Orde Wingate aka "Laurence of Judea," Lady Astor, and Hitler assassination conspirator Adam von Trott zu Solz. Additionally, Sykes worked as a BBC radio personality and literary critic. Greene and Sykes were both converts to Catholicism and their shared interests resulted in a friendship (that frequently included their fellow convert, Evelyn Waugh). However, while Greene respected Sykes' efforts to write a biography of Waugh, he did not care for the execution of said biography and swore that he would never let any friend—especially a Catholic friend—attempt a similar biography of him.
Book with light foxing to preliminary and concluding pages and some soiling to original cloth, dust jacket with slight foxing and soiling and minor wear and toning to extremities. A very good inscribed copy with fantastic provenance.