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Marlborough: His Life and Times, full set of four British first edition, first printings in dust jackets
George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., London 1933 - This is superior full set of four British first edition, first printings in first printing dust jackets. Winston Churchill's monumental biography of his great ancestor, John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, was initially conceived a full 40 years before publication of the fourth and final volume. Churchill originally considered the idea of the biography in 1898, returning to it in earnest in 1928. Marlborough ultimately took 10 years of research and writing and is the most substantial published work of Churchill's "wilderness years" in the 1930s. The final volume was published on the eve of the Second World War in 1938. Richard Langworth says "To understand the Churchill of the Second World War, the majestic blending of his commanding English with historical precedent, one has to read Marlborough." The work was very well received, both critically and aesthetically. The first edition is a physically impressive production. The books measure 9.25 x 6.25 inches and are roughly 2 inches thick. Each is bound in plum cloth with beveled edges, the Marlborough coat of arms gilt on the front cover, and a gilt top edge. Moreover, each volume is profusely illustrated. Unfortunately, the plum cloth binding in Volumes I-III proved highly susceptible to sun fading. (A different, more fade-resistant dye was used in Volume IV.) Without the dust jackets, Volumes I-III are nearly always spine faded and jacketed first editions are now scarce. Particularly scarce are first printing dust jackets for Volumes I & II. We caution collectors to be wary of price-clipped dust jackets, as later impression Volume I & II dust jackets state either "2nd Impression" or "3rd Impression" printed next to the price on the lower front flap. No such problem applies to Volumes III & IV, which each had only a single printing. Additionally, the dust jackets themselves proved highly susceptible to soiling and toning. This full, four-volume British first edition set is collector-worthy and increasingly scarce thus, near fine or better first printing volumes in near fine, unclipped, first printing dust jackets. The bindings are square, clean, bright, and tight. The contents are uniformly bright and crisp. All four volumes feel unread. Remarkably for the edition, the only trivial spotting we find in the set is confined to the Volume II fore edge. The gilt top edges remain bright and the fore edges show only mild age-toning. The sole previous ownership mark is a 1935 Christmas gift inscription on the Volume II front free endpaper. The dust jackets are highly complete with superior shelf presentation. Notably, the Volume I dust jacket retains excellent gray color on the spine with only minor toning, which we seldom see. All four dust jackets show only trivial loss at the spine heads and minor wear to extremities, with a little wrinkling of the Volume I spine, a hint of toning to the spines, and modest soiling to the Volume III front panel. All four dust jackets are protected in removable, archival quality clear covers. Bibliographic reference: Cohen A97.2(I-IV).a, Woods/ICS A40(aa); Langworth p.166. [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Churchill Book Collector ABAA/ILAB/IOBA]
Last Found On: 2015-11-18           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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