"May blessings be upon the head of Cadmus, the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invented books." -Thomas Carlyle
Welcome to my virtual book collection. Since collecting actual books is somewhat cost-prohibitive, I've begun to amass all of the books I would love to have if I had the means. Some are new, lots are old, all are unique or beautiful or unusual or in some other way have captured my fancy. Enjoy browsing!
Special Collections: Fine Bindings ~ Fairies and Fairy Tales ~ Terror and Madness ~ Poetry ~ Food, Drink and Apothecary ~ Science Fiction ~ Illuminations, Lettering and Hand-Coloring ~ Magic ~ Supernatural and Occult ~ Alchemy ~ Science and Technical ~ Maritime ~ Costumes ~ Humor ~ Children's books ~ Legend of King Arthur ~ Americana ~ 18th Century ~ 19th Century Authors and illustrators: Edgar Allan Poe ~ Jules Verne ~ Edmund Dulac ~ Kay Nielsen ~ Arthur Rackham ~ Edward Gorey ~ Charles Dickens ~ H.P. Lovecraft ~ William Hope Hodgson ~ Mark Twain ~ Lewis Carroll ~ Salvador Dali ~ George Cruikshank ~ Emily Dickinson ~ Geoffrey Chaucer ~ H.G. Wells
Spells and Philtres
Clark Ashton Smith, Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1958.
First edition / First printing. Octavo. Hardcover. A very good copy in a very good dust jacket. One of 519 copies. Jacket art by Frank Utpatel. Jaffery, Horrors and Unpleasantries #51.
Tales of Mystery and Imagination
Edgar Allan Poe. New York, Tudor Publishing Co. 1933
Illus. Harry Clarke.
412 pp. 8 tipped-in color plates and 24 monochrome plates by Harry Clarke. (4to), black cloth, paper label on front, pictorial dust jacket. First Tudor Edition.
Hello book lovers,
First, I apologize for the long and unexpected hiatus from updating Book Aesthete. Sometimes life just throws you a few loops and you find yourself completely unmotivated towards any non-life-sustaining activities. I will attempt to regain momentum, although it’s possible that the scope and focus may shift a bit.
Second, an excellent reason to update once again: “Black Labyrinth”. A new imprint has been launched, featuring original horror/thriller stories by a variety of authors, all illustrated by one of my all-time favorite literary illustrators Santiago Caruso. Check it out - I can’t wait for the first release, a novel by the suitably disturbing Tom Piccirilli. I will post pictures and thoughts once I have it in my eager little hands.
15 Stories by William Hope Hodgson
Madison: Strange Company, 1988
Each Individually Bound 15 white stiff paper bound deckle edged pamphets. Front covers have a facsimile signature of the author printed in blue on the front. Each pamphlet housed in an envelope printed with the title & a small illustration of a ship. Signed by R. Alain Everts on the title page of each pamphlet. The 15 pamphlets are “Fifty Dead Chinamen All in a Row”, “From the Tideless Sea”, “Homeward Bound”, “Old Golly”, “Sea Horses”, “The Baumoff Explosive”, “The Goddess of Death”, “The Heaving of the Log”, “The Mystery of the Ship in the Night”, “The Phantom Ship”, “The Riven Night”, “The Room of Fear”, “The Valley of Lost Children”, “The Ways of the Heathens” (misprinted on the envelope as ‘The Way of the Heathens’) & “The Terrible Derelict”. Most stories originally published in the early 1900’s.
B-A Note: Someone had better hide my credit card. I need these. But it did remind me that I had this entry on Hodgson in the queue over at Book-Aesthete: Contemporary that needed to be published.
Carnacki the Ghost Finder
William Hope Hodgson. London: Eveleigh Nash. 1913
First edition. Spine of book a little darkened, top corners of spine show wear, binding and book’s edges dust soiled, old unused book plate on front free-endpaper, a few page corners creased, a few small stains and some light foxing on pages otherwise very good.
B-A Note: If you are interested, MJ Starling has recorded several, if not all, of the Carnacki stories. I enjoy them - definitely worth a listen. (As with all Tumblrs, it begins at the end - the first recording is at the bottom of page 3. Also available free on ITunes.) He’s currently broadcasing WHH’s “The Hog”, which I have not yet begun listening to, but probably will soon.
Edgar Allan Poe Portfolio (Signed Limited Edition)
Bernie Wrightson, Illust.
Christopher Enterprises, 1976. Limited edition, (12” x 16.5”), 8 full-color plates in pale yellow illustrated folder. A near fine copy.
Legendary horror artist Bernie Wrightson turns his eye to Edgar Allan Poe in this beautifully illustrated limited edition portfolio of eight (8) full-color plates measuring 12” x 16.5”, published in 1976 by Christopher Enterprises. One of 2000 copies produced, this being number 688, SIGNED by Wrightson on the inside portfolio cover. With a small bend to upper right corner of each print and the just the slightest of handling wear but otherwise in overall excellent condition, bright and clean throughout. A rare limited edition portfolio touched by the wonderfully strange mind of the legendary horror illustrator.
Grotesques and Fantastiques
Clark Ashton Smith. Saddle River, NJ, Gerry de la Ree, 1973.
40 pp. (8vo) black cloth lettered in gilt, original wrappers bound in. No. 15 of 50 copies thus bound from an edition of 600 copies
A Selection of Previously Unpublished Drawings and Poems. This copy prepared for noted collector Forrest J. Ackerman.
Pierrot! A Story
by Stacpoole, Henry de Vere. John Lane, London, 1896.
Illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley.
Original ivory-coloured pictorial cloth depicting a Pierrot clown selecting books in a library in red; red spine titles; red pictorial device to rear. Decorative endpapers; 163pp + 16pp rear catalogue (most of catalogue is uncut and unopened), all edges untrimmed.
A scarce novel of the supernatural involving a blurring of sexual boundaries. John Lane obviously liked this book immensely because it launched his ‘Pierrot Library’ series which also included Stacpoole’s other novel of weird decadent supernaturalism, ‘Death, The Knight & The Lady’. The author was a gifted novelist and although his later works sold in significantly greater numbers, his two early novels are for me wonderful examples of beguiling ‘fin-de-siecle’ supernaturalism.
Bradbury, Ray (b. 1920),. Sauk City, Wisconsin: Arkham House, 1947
First edition with first issue dust jacket over gilt-lettered black boards, 8vo, (very minor edge chipping and spotting to jacket and very light fading, else fine).
B-A Note: I posted recently about a limited-edition release of this book, but this is the first-issue dust jacket and the artwork is great.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson. Centipede Press, 2012
Limited Edition Hardcover.
The classic novel of personality transference is an acknowledged masterpiece and one of the most influential novels ever written. Now with a new introduction by Patrick McGrath, a stunning suite of fifteen wood engravings by Barry Moser, a front cover by James Bama, gorgeous endpapers by Aeron Alfrey, a back cover by Basil Gogos, a fascinating typographical treatment that destabilizes the text, a handful of Stevenson’s best horror short stories, and a fantastic cover gallery of old film posters in full color. The book is presented in our oversize format, 8 × 12 inches, the same as the other books in our Gothic series.
The wood engravings by Barry Moser are exquisite. They were originally published in small size by the University of Nebraska Press. Mr Moser personally retouched all of the engravings for this edition, and he also created three new wood engravings just for this new edition. One of America’s most renowned artists, Mr Moser’s work has graced some of the finest and most collectible limited editions ever published, including books from the Arion Press and Moser’s own acclaimed Pennyroyal Press.
Each numbered copy is signed by Patrick McGrath, Barry Moser and Aeron Alfrey. The edition is limited to 200 copies for sale. The books are bound in cloth with printed front and rear panels with printed endpapers, ribbon marker, and a slipcase.
B-A Note: Gorgeous! I haven’t read this yet - need to fix that.
“The King in Yellow is a collection of short stories written by Robert W. Chambers and published in 1895. The stories could be categorized as early horror fiction or Victorian Gothic fiction, but the work also touches on mythology, fantasy, mystery, science fiction and romance. The first four stories in the collection involve an imaginary two-act play of the same title.”
Sample book cover for reference:
Franz Kafka. Kurt Wolff Verlag, Leipzig: 1915]
First edition of “Metamorphosis”, 8vo (210 x 128mm.), 3 leaves of publisher’s advertisements at end, dust-jacket illustrated by Ottomar Starke (dated 1916 as usual), rebound in marbled boards preserving upper wrapper, binding worn, spine detached
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson. London, Longmans, Green & Co.1886
First issue with “5” in 1885 ink changed from “6” by hand from the publisher. Also, an ad for the second edition of “A Child’s Garden of Verses” at rear. This wrapper bound issue precedes the cloth issue by about a week. “Like Shelley’s Frankenstein, this is an updating of the Faust theme which speculates on the dangers of science out of control…Stevenson’s theme of the human mind fragmenting into mutually exclusive, mutually destructive bits has been treated by countless later writers” – Lilly 21; Prideaux 17; Beinecke 349; Bleiler, Science Fiction (Early Years), pp.706-07; A Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone.
, 141, [1 blank] +  ad pp. 18x11.5 cm. (7x4½”), original buff wrappers rebacked with early matching paper, front cover stamped in blue and red, glassine wrapper, custom maroon drop-back box. First English Edition, earliest binding state, first issue.
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
H.P. Lovecraft. Everett, Pennsylvania: Visionary Publishing Co., 1936.
Original black cloth, front and spine panels stamped in silver.. Spine panel a bit creased at spine ends, else a fine copy in very. good pictorial dust jacket with shelf wear and slight loss at spine. ends and corners, several short tears at upper edges of spine and. front panels with internal tape mend, and general dust soiling to. front, spine and rear panels.
A superior copy of this book with. distinguished provenance. (#114482). First edition. A highly important presentation copy with a signed inscription by Lovecraft to August Derleth on the front free endpaper: “To Auguste- Guillaume, Comte d’Erlette, / whose encouraging opinion of this / tale is responsible for its present / appearance in (mis) print. / A reasonably corrected copy, with / the grateful compliments of the / perpetrator — / H. P. Lovecraft / Christmas, MDCCCCXXXVI.”
Lovecraft’s first published book, preceded by THE SHUNNED HOUSE (1928) that was printed, but not circulated beyond a tiny circle of Lovecraft’s friends. Publisher William H. Crawford has stated that approximately 400 copies were printed, of which about 200 were bound, the remainder destroyed at a later date. Binding and typography were dreadful and a handful of the earliest copies had corrections in Lovecraft’s hand. This copy has a dozen or so corrections by Lovecraft, including a line of missing text handwritten on page 72.