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Passage to India
1924. First Edition . FORSTER, E.M. A Passage to India. London: Edward Arnold, 1924. Octavo, original burgundy cloth. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $5800.First trade edition of E.M. Forster’s most famous novel, the last published in his lifetime, the copy of Bloomsbury group hostess and book collector Lady Ottoline Morrell, who frequently hosted Forster at her home, annotated by Morrell and bearing a signed gift inscription from her as well as a tipped-in photograph of Forster captioned by her.Forster's 1921 return trip to India ""had the effect of releasing what was to be judged his masterpiece, A Passage to India"" (DNB). Andre Gide praised Forster's novel, his last published in his lifetime, as ""a miracle of intelligence, tact, irony, prudence and ability"" (Connolly, The Modern Movement 45). David Lean's 1984 film adaptation earned 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. A ""Limited Edition"" of 200 copies was printed the same year, no priority established. With three pages of advertisements at rear; without extremely scarce dust jacket. Kirkpatrick A10. This copy belonged to Lady Ottoline Morrell, essentially the Grand Dame of the Bloomsbury group. Physically striking and exceptionally well-connected (her first cousin went on to become the Queen Mother), Morrell was the heart of the Bloomsbury group, bringing together its prominent writers and artists in her London and Oxfordshire houses. In turn, the members of the group treated her homes as social clubs, coming and going at all hours with many adopting the bisexual Morrell as a romantic partner as various points. Indeed, her lovers included Roger Fry, Augustus John, Dora Carrington, Axel Munthe, and Bertrand Russell. However, Morrell was easily bored by romantic matters and her greatest passion was always the arts. Though she was caricatured unsympathetically by many of her friends and lovers—including by Lawrence who is believed to have immortalized her as Lady Chatterley—Morrell nonetheless loved literature. She collected first editions throughout her life, reading them repeatedly and handling them roughly. ""Unlike many celebrity libraries, Ottoline's books bear all the marks of being read and re-read, some to the point of disintegration"" (The Guardian). Morrell was, in fact, responsible for introducing Forster to D.H. Lawrence, an important association for them both. For Forster, Ottaline Morrell was an inroads into the most exclusive circles, but she was also a friend. As far back as October 4, 1913, he wrote to her, ""Every one ought to go to India. There is a desert of purple stone and cold air in Rajputana where I caught some germ that will stop me from ever being ill again."" This copy bears a gift inscription signed by Morrell as ""O"" for Ottoline and reading, ""Philip from O, June 4th 1924."" It also has a laid-in original photograph of Forster reading a newspaper, captioned behind on the pastedown in Morrell's hand. Morrell has annotated the work by writing page references on the rear free endpaper and there is a bit of marginal pencil bracketing in the text. Bookseller ticket.A few tiny spots of soiling to interior, tape residue to front endpapers, some wear to cloth. An extremely good copy with an outstanding association.
      [Bookseller: Bauman Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2017-04-03           Check availability:      Biblio    


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