"NEVER WAS MAUGHAM MORE READABLE OR SO WHOLLY DELIGHTFUL": FIRST EDITION OF THE GENTLEMAN IN THE PARLOUR, 1930, INSCRIBED BY W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM
MAUGHAM, W. Somerset. The Gentleman in the Parlour. A Record of a Journey from Rangoon to Haiphong. London: William Heinemann, (1930). Quarto, original gilt-stamped black cloth, original dust jacket. $1750.
First edition of Maugham's chronicle of his travels from Rangoon to Haiphong, "reportedly the favorite of all his books," inscribed by him, "For C— C. F— W. Somerset Maugham."
"Never was Maugham more readable or so wholly delightful" than in Gentleman in the Parlour (New York Herald Tribune). In writing of his "journey from Rangoon northward to Mandalay, in upper Burma, then on to Haiphong… he takes the reader on strolls through the Irrawaddy Shwe Dagon, Keng Tung, Saigon, Hanoir, Hue and Hong Kong, traveling by canoe, riverboat, rickshaw and pony… In this, reportedly the favorite of all his books, Maugham even has the time to introduce a fictional character, Blenkinsop, a name that he resurrected from his 1912 play, Mrs. Dog," and would reintroduce in Cakes and Ale (1930) (Rogal, William Somerset Maugham, 65). His lively account won praise on publication as "very agreeable reading… it is the effortless ease of his style, its quiet efficiency, which reminds one that the traveler is a famous novelist and a practiced writer. The anecdotes are choice and perfectly told" (Saturday Review). To Desmond MacCarthy, Gentleman in the Parlour is altogether "sombre and beautiful, entertaining and sincere" (Hastings, Secret Lives, 289). "First published 1930" on copyright page. Precedes the first American edition. Stott A39.
Book fine; toning to spine, tape reinforcement to verso of very good dust jacket.