"FOR CHRISTMAS—NEW YEAR—AND A SUPER JANUARY": FIRST EDITION OF GEORGE MACDONALD'S THE PORTENT, WITH FRONTISPIECE BY MAURICE SENDAK, INSCRIBED BY SENDAK TO A NEIGHBOR AND CLOSE FRIEND
(SENDAK, Maurice) MACDONALD, George. The Portent. A Story of the Inner Vision of the Highlanders Commonly Called the Second Sight. San Francisco: Harper & Row, (1979). Octavo, original brown cloth, original dust jacket. $750.
First edition of this supernatural novel, with frontispiece illustration by Maurice Sendak, inscribed by Sendak to a close friend and neighbor: "For Elizabeth, For Christmas—New Year—and a Super January. Jan. 80. Maurice Sendak."
"The title story, 'The Portent,' was originally written for magazine serialization several years prior to its release in book form in 1864. Shorter than most of MacDonald's novels, this spooky tale of the Scottish 'second sight' is a thorough spine-tingling ghost story worthy of the twilight zone" (Heather Wentz). Sendak's frontispiece illustration depicts an old woman sitting in a cottage, with a cross dangling from her hands. Hanrahan A106. The former owner of this inscribed book was Maurice Sendak's neighbor, Andrew, from Ridgefield, Connecticut. Sendak bought a home and studio in Ridgefield in 1972 with his longtime partner, Eugene Glynn, and lived there until his death. Andrew first encountered Sendak in 1975 during one of his daily dog walks. (Sendak owned many dogs throughout his life, and they often starred in his books.) Andrew was immediately taken with Sendak, who reminded him of his recently deceased father. One day, Andrew called Sendak at home and asked if he could join him on his walks. Andrew and Sendak thus embarked on a 37-year friendship that also included the Andrew's mother, Betty, as well as Andrew's brother. Sendak went on long walks and hikes with Andrew and his family regularly, discussing general life events, opera, and books. He also invited them into his studio to show off works in progress. Andrew's mother, Betty, was an avid reader and collector and she and Sendak would talk late into the night about books. Sendak offered Betty advice about how to find and authenticate rare children's books, which she used to build her collection. Additionally, he frequently bartered for autographs (i.e. a cake for an inscribed drawing featuring the cake). Sendak often referred to Betty as "Elizabeth" in inscriptions as he felt that "Betty" was too common a name. The many inscribed drawings, along with first editions, signed books, and other valuable items grew into one of the country's premier Sendak collections.
Book with interior generally fine and a bit of toning to extremities. Dust jacket with slightest rubbing to extremities and mild toning to spine. A near-fine inscribed copy.