Monday, May 30, 2016

Rejected 'Alice' likely to bring $5 million at Christie's

From The Guardian, news of an auction for a true first edition of Alice in Wonderland:

The book became one of the most beloved stories in children’s literature, and Cohen writes that “so choice” has the “inferior” first edition now become, that “collectors would trade whole segments of their libraries for a single copy of the ‘first’ Alice; bibliographers dream of uncovering an unrecorded copy; and literary chroniclers are at a loss to explain how, even in the heyday of Victorian publishing, such extravagant decisions could be made over a single children’s book as were made over this one.”
Christie’s, which will auction the text on 16 June in New York, says that surviving copies of the “legendary” 1865 edition are “excessively rare”. Sixteen of the known copies are in institutional libraries, and six in private hands.
One of the illustrations, the printing of which the illustrator John Tenniel was ‘extremely dissatisfied’ with.
 One of the illustrations in the first edition of Alice in Wonderland. Photograph: Christie's Images Ltd
The edition Christie’s is selling was personally given by Carroll to his Christ Church colleague George William Kitchin, who gave it to his daughter Alexandra. She sold it at auction in 1925, when it was acquired for thePforzheimer library. It passed through the hands of different private owners until it was acquired by the Carroll scholar and bibliographer Jon Lindseth.
The book is being sold along with a photograph of Alexandra Kitchin taken by Caroll himself – she was one of his favourite models. The book is “in its true original state, with the text and binding as they were when the book was first produced”, says the auction house, and “no other copy in the original binding in this condition exists in private hands”.

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