"THE LAST NOVEL THE AUTHOR WILL EVER WRITE… W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM": FIRST EDITION OF MAUGHAM'S LAST NOVEL, CATALINA, INSCRIBED BY HIM IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION
MAUGHAM, W. Somerset. Catalina. A Romance. Melbourne, London, Toronto: William Heinemann, (1948). Octavo, original red cloth, original dust jacket. $2500.
First edition, first issue, of Maugham's powerful satire on the politics of power, his final novel, memorably inscribed on the half title by him in the year of publication, "The last novel the author will ever write. For George Cowan, W. Somerset Maugham, October 1948 in London,"
Maugham's last novel, set in 15th-century Spain during the Inquisition, tells the story of a beautiful disabled girl who witnesses a vision of the Virgin Mary. As Catalina becomes "a valuable object of intra-church and inter-political struggle," Maugham offers a satirical "analysis of the age-old struggle for political power" (Rogel, 19). Featuring many tongue-in-cheek "Maugham gems of cynical worldly wisdom," Catalina won praise on publication for flirting "mischievously with several serious subjects… In the 75th year of his age Maugham still regards the human comedy as a diverting spectacle, a suitable target for impudent jests" (New York Times). "First published in 1948" on copyright page. In preferred red and silver-stamped cloth. Published on August 19, 1948: precedes the October 1948 first American edition. Serialized in four issues of Harper's as "The Windmill," with only one installment appearing prior to publication. Stott A67.
Book fine; light edge-wear, faint toning to spine of near-fine dust jacket. An especially distinctive inscribed copy.