The Quest for Corvo with: Ephemera. A. J. A. Symons.
The Quest for Corvo with: Ephemera
The Quest for Corvo with: Ephemera
The Quest for Corvo with: Ephemera
The Quest for Corvo with: Ephemera
The Quest for Corvo with: Ephemera
The Quest for Corvo with: Ephemera
The Quest for Corvo with: Ephemera

The Quest for Corvo with: Ephemera

London, England: Cassell & Co. Ltd., 1934. First Edition. Hardcover. "Since 1913, when Fredrick Rolfe, self-styled Baron Corvo, died in bitterness and poverty, critics one by one have become aware of this acrimonious author's masterpiece, Hadrian VII, a book now admitted to an unique position in English literature. They have also heard something of the truly astonishing life that lay behind its writing and is reflected through every page of its ferocious brilliance. Mr. Symons, however, is the first to be in a position of full authority on the subject. Over a period of eight years he has pursued a quest that has little by little revealed so astounding a story that Mr. Symons little more than guessed at what was to be the outcome of his search." (from jacket back cover) The cult-classic sui generis "Experiment in Biography" by A(lphose) J(ames) A(lbert) Symons (1900-1941), the British scholar & writer whose life & work are as legendary as the subject of this, his acknowledged masterpiece. Frederick William Rolfe (1860-1913), who proclaimed himself "Baron Corvo," was a markedly eccentric (even to British standards) polymath who engaged in everything from painting to the priesthood. As noted above, Rolfe's own most acclaimed "masterpiece" was his semi-autobiogrphical, wish-fulfilling fantasy novel Hadrian the Seventh (1904). Rolfe, who was also a pioneeringly & defiantly expressive gay man in his art & life, died in obscurity. Symons' deep, unconventional biography probably did more than anything to bring attention to Rolfe & his accomplishments. Offered here is the very first edition published in the UK during 1934, hardcover in unclipped dust jacket, presumably the first printing with "First published 1934" stated on copyright page & no references to further printings thereon. Also present are several very interesting & relevant pieces of ephemera: Three slips & one clipped page from British booksellers/ catalogs with descriptions of this book (we cannot precisely determine if they all relate to this copy) & with various prices in British Pounds, hand-written notations in red ink on the slips (which are dated 1974-1975); & an article by Joseph Epstein about this work, its author & subject in the November 28-29 issue of the Wall Street Journal, clipped therefrom, single much-folded sheet. Entitled "A Biography Like No Other," the article concludes: "...an odd book, a completely original book, "The Quest for Corvo" also represents a new method of writing biography that has never been copied. That it hasn't been, that perhaps it cannot be without the keen mind that Symons brought to it, is but another mark of its standing as a masterpiece." All of the above ephemera in very fine condition with only light edgewear, creases to article. From the collection of George V. Buehler (1933-2020), who was a prominent real estate developer & collector in Massachusetts & Arizona. We additionally have retained a printed-out document relating to Buehler's purchase & further research of this item during 2010 & 2015, single folded sheet in very fine condition; & a (quite mint) bookmark from the venerable Pages bookstore in Cave Creek, Arizona, which was the location of one of Buehler's residences. The supreme Symons-Rolfe collectible in its very rarest original form, with distinguished provenance & enriching ephemera. Book in fine condition with very slight rubbing & faint scratching to front, back covers & spine; mild wear incl. slight loss of black (or very dark blue?) cloth-coloring; gilt stamping on spine only slightly dulled & almost completely intact (better than any we have seen); moderate browning & spotting to side & lower edges of text block; moderate rubbing & light scratching (but no apparent fading) to red-dyed upper edge of same. Interior fine with light browning to blank paste-downs, endpapers & printed page leaves; sparse spotting mostly at blank margins of a few leaves; vintage sticker of "The (London) Times Book Club" affixed to lower margin/ edge of rear paste-down near spine; small stamping of "2:34" close to lower edge of rear endpaper near spine (a most-probable indication of first printing status). Unrestored dust jacket relatively near-fine with moderate-to-significant rubbing, light scratching, creasing & occasional spotting to front, back covers, esp. spine & flaps; mild wear & some tiny bumps, creases at edges & corners of same; very short, mostly closed tears with very slight loss of paper at same esp. cover- & spine-edges. Fine / Near Fine. [Item #4868]

Price: $150.00