A first edition of Ulysses sold for $460,000 in auction at Christie's in 2002. The price might have upset the union chief, convicted gangster, and major-league James Joyce book collector Dennis Silverman, who had sold his copy, signed and inscribed by the author, for a mere $135,000 ten years earlier. Great books attract all kinds and come to fascinating destinies of their own, as Nabokov's Butterfly amply demonstrates. In it, author and rare book dealer Rick Gekoski profiles twenty editions of major books that have passed through his hands and made publishing history, as they have become the legends of rare book collectors. Plied with alcohol by Graham Greene, sued by J. D. Salinger, harassed by Harold Pinter, berated by Ted Hughes who unloaded his personal and passionately inscribed copy of Sylvia Plath's The Colossus, Gekoski is a convivial participant in these histories, including his tale, and sale, of Mr. Tolkien's college gown. Not entirely unabashedly he recalls purchasing from Graham Greene his first edition of Lolita, with Nabokov's signature drawing of a butterfly inside, one day, and on the next selling it to Elton John's lyricist at a $10,000 profit. 25 color photographs are featured in this remarkable book.
Literature-Fiction, History-Criticism, Books-Reading, General,