8vo, pp. , 293; frontispiece portrait, 10 plates (1 double page), 3 full-page illustrations in text; some annotations throughout (mostly corrections); original black cloth, gilt spine; near fine copy.
A Fine unopened copy of the scarce second issue. Edition of fewer than 100 copies. Original linen-backed boards, 8vo. 288 pp, 14 ills. Though Gibbon's library was dispersed after his death, the catalogue probably lists "quite five-sixths of the books composing Gibbon's 'numerous and select library' ". The preface-which Keynes clearly took pride in having written in Gibbonian style-describes Keynes' research and sources and the value of attempting to reconstruct Gibbon's library. The introduction sketches Gibbon's life in terms of his interest in books. Keynes' work was first published in 1940 by Jonathan Cape but with a war on very few copies sold and most of the stock was destroyed by bombs. Fewer than 100 sets of sheets were salvaged, bound (with one missing section reprinted) and issued by the Bibliographical Society in 1950. This is one of those copies-the second issue of the first edition.
Near Fine in a Very Good dustwrapper with minor edgewear. Cloth, 8vo, 288 pp, portrait, 12 collotype plates. Scarce. This is the rarely-seen 1940 first issue of the first edition. Keynes himself, in his autobiography, describes it as "an attractive volume, well-illustrated" but goes on to explain that its publication in the dark days of the war meant that "very few copies were sold. A few months later most of the stock was destroyed by German bombs. Cape's bound volume became much sought after and had the status and price of a rare book. I had the copy given to me by the firm on publication and never found another one" (he was writing in 1981, so this comment means that he had seen no copy in some 40 years of active involvement in the book world). Rupert Hart-Davis similarly recorded (in the Book Collector): ". Gibbon's Library was duly brought out in one of the worst months in publishing history-April 1940. It achieved the splendid record of selling fewer copies than any other book ever published by Cape-under a hundred, I remember-and since most of the unsold stock was soon destroyed by enemy action, the book must be the rarest in all Geoffrey's extensive oeuvre." The book combines interest and bibliographic detail in typical Keynes fashion and though Gibbon's library was dispersed after his death, the catalogue probably lists "quite five-sixths of the books composing Gibbon's 'numerous and select library' ". The preface-which Keynes clearly took pride in having written in Gibbonian style-describes Keynes' research and sources and the value of attempting to reconstruct Gibbon's library, The introduction sketches Gibbon's life in terms of his interest in books.
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