Jonkers Rare Books in Henley-on-Thames is offering seven of the presentation copies of Waugh’s books that were auctioned by Bonhams last year. See earlier post. These are from the collection of Waugh’s friend and fellow novelist Anthony Powell. They are priced from £4000 to £12500. Among them, at the highest price, are two copies of Scott-King’s Modern Europe, one of which contains an original and amusing drawing by Waugh and the other, a note apologizing for having marked up the first copy. The importance of these copies is explained in the bookseller’s description of each book:
An exceptional association linking two of the great novelists of the twentieth century.”Although two years behind him at Oxford, Powell had seen just enough of Waugh to recognise that he was bound to make his mark in the world somehow. They met again in 1927… Powell warmed to Waugh, whose self confidence had not been dented by the many setbacks he had experienced since leaving Oxford.” (Michael Barber – Anthony Powell A Life)
It was through his friendship with Powell, that Waugh found his first publisher in Duckworth where Powell worked at the time. Duckworth famously declined to publish Waugh’s first novel, Decline & Fall, but remained Waugh’s publishers choice for his travel writings. The break up of Waugh’s marriage involving Powell’s raffish friend John Heygate caused relations between Waugh and Powell to temporarily cool, but both kept up a regular correspondence and common interests saw to it that their lives intertwined for the remainder of Waugh’s life. In particular, a mutual support, born of respect for each other’s work, remained constant between the two. Upon Waugh’s death in 1966, Powell wrote, “his going means that a chunk of my own life has gone too.
Also on offer is an unrelated first edition of Decline and Fall in a near perfect dustwrapper. That is not a presentation copy, but the price is £25000. Tip of the hat to Jonathan Kooperstein who called us about these after seeing them on display at a New York City book fair.