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Americans in France: A Directory, 1925.
Paris: American Chamber of Commerce in France, 1925.
Octavo, publisher’s maroon leather. Color and monochrome illustrations. $500.
First edition of this 1925 directory of Americans in France, a snapshot of the
Lost Generation, including contact information for Sylvia Beach, Jo Davidson, Mina
Loy, Robert McAlmon, Gerald Murphy, Man Ray, Gertrude Stein, EdithWharton,
andWilliam Carlos Williams. The directory features all the goods and services an
American abroad might seek, from the
couture
of Madeleine Vionnet and Jeanne
Lanvin to the English-language lending library at Shakespeare and Company,
“Publishers of
ULYSSES
by James Joyce.” A near-fine copy of a fascinating resource.
Sylvia Beach; [Walt Whitman]. Exposition Walt Whitman du 20 Avril au 20 Juin 1926.
Paris: Shakespeare and Company, 1926. Staple-bound pamphlet, 12 pages. Text in French.
$500.
Original exhibition catalog for bookseller Sylvia Beach’s 1926 celebration of
Walt Whitman at Shakespeare and Company. The admissions fee was intended to
help finance a New York City monument toWhitman, sculpted by Jo Davidson.
Whitman was not popular with modern American writers abroad: Beach recalled
that “only Joyce and the French and I were still old-fashioned enough to get along
withWhitman.” Still, T.S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway signed the bookshop’s
exhibition guest book, under the opening signature of French poet Paul Valéry.
The final signature, fittingly, was Ezra Pound’s.
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Kings of Jazz.
New York: A.S. Barnes for Perpetua Books, 1963. Eleven octavo volumes, glossy color
pictorial wrappers. Illustrated with black-and-white photographs. Housed in original
publisher’s slipcase. $300.
Striking boxed set of illustrated jazz biographies, originally published between
1959 and 1963. As Michael James writes in his volume on Miles Davis: “It is in the
very nature of jazz that its essence cannot be caught on paper, and if it were not
for the gramophone record the appeal of the music, though initially just as strong,
would be far less widespread. . . . For collector and critic alike, however, records
have drawbacks other than the obvious ones. Prominent among these is the ease
with which they allow the listener to imagine the music existing in a void,
detached from the manifold forces, interior and exterior, which went into its
making.” This series attempts to fill that void, offering historical and musical
background on eleven jazz masters, complete with discographies. The set includes
Albert McCarthy on Louis Armstrong, Burnett James on Bix Beiderbecke, Max
Harrison on Charlie Parker, Charles Fox on Fats Waller, Michael James on Miles
Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, G.E. Lambert on Johnny Dodds and Duke Ellington,
and MartinWilliams on Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver. Paul Oliver also
contributes a volume on Bessie Smith, the lone queen among the kings. A fine
bright set.
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