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Shirley Jackson. “Had We But World Enough.”
Spectre. Syracuse University,
Spring 1940. Quarto, original wrappers, illustrated. $2200.
Third issue of this short-lived college literary journal, self-published by Shirley
Jackson and her future husband Stanley Edgar Hyman. In Jackson’s story, a
penniless couple imagine their future: “‘The hell with you,’ she said. ‘You think I’m
going to have children and ruin my whole life?’ They laughed. ‘Twenty children,’
he said. ‘All boys.’” Jackson and Hyman would marry shortly after graduation, and
raise four children on her earnings as a writer. Known to her neighbors only as
“Mrs. Hyman,” the increasingly reclusive Jackson would publish some of the most
unsettling fiction ever produced in America, including “The Lottery” (1948),
The Haunting of Hill House
(1959), and
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
(1962).
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Patricia Highsmith. “Girl Campers.”
Woman’s World Magazine. New York, July 1935.
Folio, original wrappers, illustrated. $500.
Crime novelist Patricia Highsmith’s first appearance in print, a series of letters
written in 1933, when she was twelve, from her all-girls summer camp. “Patsy”
exhibits many of the characteristics of precocious city kids: she laments the camp’s
refusal to serve her coffee, requests the Sunday comics from the NewYork papers,
and exhibits a certain hard-boiled impatience with her fellow campers’ demands:
“Even I know that is ridiculous.” Most interestingly, for the future writer of the
pioneering lesbian novel
The Price of Salt
(1952), are her notes on skinny-dipping:
“We are going in swimming ‘Diana’ tonight. Miss Brownie, too. . . . Diana means
without any clothes on at all. Do you think it’s all right to go in Diana?”
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“E.M.P.” Dwarf Stories.
No place, 1888. 12mo, original limp black roan. 69 ink
manuscript pages, with six pen and ink illustrations initialed by “E.M.P.” Gift inscription
dated Christmas 1888. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $2800.
Original Victorian fairy tale manuscript featuring three illustrated stories of
misadventure, starring a spellbound prince, a vengeful fairy, and an overburdened
dwarf. In “The Dwarf with the Yellow Nose,” a wicked fairy’s invitation to the
palace goes astray, so she curses the infant prince with a yellow nose so monstrous
that his royal parents die on the spot. The disfigured baby grows into a good-hearted
dwarf until a beggar maid kisses him, revealing him to be the prince, and the maid
his destined princess. In the second story, “What Became of the Yellow Nose,” the
wicked fairy tries to salvage the prince’s cast-off yellow nose for later use, but ends
up accidentally attaching it to her own face, with comic results. In “The Story of
the Storm Dwarf,” the narrator encounters a miserable dwarf struggling under the
burden of 365 parcels, one for each day of the year, under ominous skies. Rather
than carry one parcel each day, the Storm Dwarf insists on tying all the year’s
burdens together and lifting them as one.When the narrator divides the parcels,
“sorting out the shapeless masses of ‘Supposes,’ ‘Perhapses,’ & ‘Probablies,’” the
storm clouds clear. The narrator notes: “I shall have, I fear, to keep a good look out
on Jan. 1st 1889, lest my little friend should from old habit, proceed to tie together
the whole year’s allowance into one burden & so make the weather of 1889 as
cloudy and dull as that of 1888.” This neatly penned manuscript, with its gentle
humor and inspirational bent, offers a window into Victorian women’s practices
of reading, writing, and giving. A delightful survival.
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