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A Book of Strife in the form of The Diary of an Old Soul.
London: Longmans, Green & Co., and New York,, 1892. New Edition. Duodecimo (167 x 79 mm). Contemporary olive morocco by Hatchards of Piccadilly, spine gilt on compartments with titles direct and fleuron tools, gilt rolled border to sides, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. Extremities rubbed, covers tanned, front joint just starting at ends, hinges repaired, an attractive copy in very good condition. Pencil annotations to the text throughout. The autograph book of Ottoline Morrell (1873-1938), signed by the author and a near-comprehensive array of her Bloomsbury, bohemian, and aristocratic acquaintances. This is a new edition of George Macdonald's Book of Strife in the form of The Diary of an Old Soul (1880). It prints Macdonald's 366-verse poem on the rectos only, and was produced so that people could sign their names facing the verse representing their birthday. The printed Dedication is a poem by Macdonald explaining this: "Sweet friends, receive my offering. You will find / Against each worded page a white page set: - / This is the mirror of each friendly mind / Reflecting that. In this book we are met. / Make it, dear hearts, of worth to you indeed: - / Let your white page be ground, my print be seed, / Growing to golden ears, that faith and hope shall feed." The author has signed the dedication in this copy, and dated his signature to 1895. This copy derives directly from the Morrell estate by descent. We cannot say whether the book was hers when Macdonald signed it, though it is possible. The majority of the signatures attest to Ottoline's use of it as an autograph book through the Garsington glory days of the late 1910s and 20s, and into the 30s. However there are some early signatures of people who died before the First World War, such as Henrietta S. B. L'Estrange (1816-1904) and Hannah Pearsall Smith (née Whitall, 1832-1911, a prominent Women's Suffragist who became the mother-in-law of Bertrand Russell through her daughter Alys - the Bloomsbury writer Logan was her son). This copy must have been more to Morrell than a festschrift or visitor's book, for there is evidence that she travelled with it: on his 27 January birthday appears the signature of none other than Kaiser Wilhelm II, whom she met in his post-war exile in Holland while visiting her cousin Count Goddard Bentinck in 1932. As well as those mentioned above, the signatures include (but are by no means limited to): Herbert Asquith, Earl of Oxford (1852-1928, prime minister), Max Beerbohm (1872-1956) and his wife Florence Khan (1878-1951, actress), Elizabeth Bibesco (1897-1945, writer, socialite and daughter of Herbert Asquith), Augustine Birrell (1850-1933, Liberal politician and essayist), Mary (1900-1957) and her husband Edmund Blunden (1896-1974, poet), Maurice Bowra (1898-1971, classicist and critic), David Cecil (1902-1986, writer), Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), Padraic Colum (1881-1972, writer) and his wife Mary (1884-1957, literary critic), T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), John Galsworthy (1867-1933), Robert Gathorne-Hardy (1902-1973, garden writer), Mark Gertler (1891-1939, Bloomsbury painter), Duncan Grant (1885-1978, signed twice), Florence Hardy (1879-1937, children's author and second wife of Thomas Hardy), L. P. Hartley (1895-1972), Ralph Hodgson (1871-1962, poet), Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), Sigurd von Islemann (1884-1952, Kaiser Wilhelm's right-hand man in exile, and diarist), Augustus John (1878-1961, signed twice), Crompton Llewelyn Davies (1868-1935, uncle to the Peter Pan brothers), Goldsworthy Lowes-Dickinson (1862-1932, Cambridge political scientist and philosopher), Desmond MacCarthy (1877-1952, literary critic), William Maclagan (1826-1910, Archbishop of York) and his son Eric (1879-1951, art historian and director of the V&A), Aristide Maillol (1861-1944, French artist), Violet Manners, Marchioness of Granby (1856-1937, artist and aristocrat, mother of Diana Cooper), Walter de la Mare (1873-1956), Leonide Massine (1896-1979, Ballet Russes dancer and choreographer), Hope Mirrlees (1887-1978, poet), T. F. Powys (1875-1953, writer), as well as his wife Violet and their son Francis, Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) and his wife Alys, Umberto Morra (1897-1981, Italian journalist and anti-fascist), Leo Myers (1881-1944, novelist), Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967), W. H. Smith, Viscount Hambleden (1903-1948, heir to and chairman of the family firm), Gilbert Spencer (1892-1979, artist and brother of Stanley), James Stephens (1880-1950, Irish poet and novelist), Lytton Strachey (1880-1932), Iris Tree (1897-1968, bohemian poet and model), Ambroise Vollard (1866-1939, Modernist art dealer), H. G. Wells (1866-1946), Victoria Wemyss (1890-1994, aristocrat and photographer), and W. B. Yeats (1865-1939). There are also numerous members of Ottoline's Anglo-Dutch family the Bentincks (which included Celia Glamis, 1862-1939, the grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II), as well as a number of Grenfells and many other miscellaneous aristocrats. In this rarefied, yet crowded, atmosphere, we also find Ottoline's nanny "Powie" and nurse Nina. This is a unique object - emblematic of inter-war high-society, and thoroughly representative of Ottoline herself, who is best remembered for the extraordinary people she knew.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2017-12-01           Check availability:      Biblio    

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