"SHOWS HIM AT HIS BEST": SIGNED LIMITED FIRST EDITION OF A WRITER'S NOTEBOOK, SIGNED BY W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM
MAUGHAM, W. Somerset. A Writer's Notebook. London: William Heinemann, (1949). Octavo, original half vellum, navy cloth boards, top edge gilt, uncut and largely unopened, original slipcase. $850.
Signed limited first edition, number 368 of 1000 copies signed by Maugham—one of the "most gifted writers of the 20th century."
A Writer's Notebook shows Maugham "at his best, as detached, observant, and affecting a pose of worldliness even in his apparently private thoughts" (Drabble, 631). From the age of 18 until publication of this work in 1849, Maugham filled volumes with character portraits, epigrams, quotes, story ideas, random thoughts and scene descriptions. Selected and assembled for A Writer's Notebook, his writings offer "a magnificent meeting of all the Maughams… he is a true storyteller " (New York Times). As V.S. Pritchett observed in a contemporary review, "like most novelists, Maugham has not used the greater part of his notes. They are the environment rather than the material, and they disclose that part of a writer which is really the traveler" (New Statesman and Nation). W.H. Auden, in his review, observed, "I think many readers are going to be surprised—I certainly was—to learn that Maugham, of all people, believes 'that the value of art lies in its effect… not in beauty but in right action'" (New York Times). Famed for works such as Of Human Bondage (1915), Moon and Sixpence (1919) and Razor's Edge (1944), Maugham "was one of the most commercially successful and gifted writers of the 20th century, whose work remains in print in the 21st" (ODNB). Signed limited edition, "published simultaneously with the ordinary trade edition": one of four limited editions of Maugham's works that were "printed after the ordinary trade editions but from the same forms" (Stott A46b). Title page printed in red and black; publisher's tipped-in half title with signed limitation on the verso. original slipcase numbered "368." Stott A70b. Rothschild 277. Small owner notation to rear blank.
Only light soiling and expert repairs to slipcase. A fine signed copy.