Five Rare Books for Collectors: Jan Morris


The Upstairs Donkey & Other Stolen Stories. London, Faber & Faber, 1962.

Highlights from Sotheran's' latest catalogue of first edition books by Jan Morris including:

* The Upstairs Donkey & Other Stolen Stories. London, Faber & Faber, 1962.

First UK edition, incredibly scarce. This collection of short stories comes from sources across the globe. During Morris's time travelling the world as a foreign correspondent, she collected a whole host of interesting folk tales from a multitude of cultures, and presents a selection of them here, in The Upstairs Donkey. 'Wherever my work as a newspaper correspondent has taken me, I have filched local tales and legends, concentrating upon more the subtle and sophistocated kind of anecdote, and fighting shy of the whimsier folklore' (p. 7). This volume features wonderful full-page illustrations by Pauline Baynes throughout.

* Coronation Everest. London, Faber and Faber, 1958.

First edition, rather scarce in this condition. Morris joined the Everest 1953 expedition as Special Correspondent of The Times and reported on the ascent which coincided with the eve of Queen Elizabeth's Coronation. This is a review copy with a printed slip by the publishers tipped in, with details of the book filled in with a typewriter. The unclipped wrapper has the inked out and incorrect statement that the book contains colour plates.

* Venice. London, Faber and Faber, [1960].

Very rare first edition, first printing of this most celebrated and revered portrait of the Serenissima. This copy in the second state of the wrappers, with press reviews of the book.

* Conundrum. London Faber, 1974.

First edition, a milestone in trans-gender history, the memoir telling the journalist James Morris's transition into Jan Morris following surgery in Casablanca in 1972. Jan's son Mark desigend this iconic dust-wrapper, which at first glance looks like computer art, but was actually hand-drawn.

*A Machynlleth Triad. [Newtown, Powys], Gwasg Gregynogg, 1993.

First edition, number 2 of 310 copies of this binding variant (50 bound in quarter goatskin, 40 unbound sheets). This trilogy evokes three periods in the history of the Welsh town. The Welsh Rebellion against the English of the early 15th century, the present situation of 1991, and Y Dyfodol/The Future imagines Machynlleth as the capital of the Welsh Republic celebrating an anniversary. Frontispiece and six other tipped-in illustrations by Brenda Berman.