July 2013 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Typhoon Manuscript

Typhoon.pngWhen the incomparable Joseph Conrad collection of the late Stanley J. Seeger goes to auction later this week in London, this complete working manuscript of Typhoon is expected to make the biggest splash. Heralded as "the most important Conrad manuscript remaining in private hands," it shows the author's extensive revisions on nearly every page. Sotheby's believes it will realize something in the range of $500,000-750,000.

The Typhoon manuscript was last on the market at Sotheby's New York in 1990, when Seeger paid $170,000 for it. Over the course of fifty years, Seeger doggedly sought out first editions, manuscripts, letters, and proofs by Joseph Conrad. Now that collection is for sale in two parts, with part one commencing on July 10 with 193 lots. Some of the highlights include a rare 1902 letter in which Conrad discusses the character of Kurtz in Heart of Darkness, a presentation copy of The Mirror of the Sea to Henry James, and page proofs of the first edition of Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard, presented by Conrad to his literary agent.

In a press release last month, Peter Selley, Sotheby's senior specialist in books and manuscripts, commented, "This is the greatest single author collection pertaining to a modern writer to come to auction within living memory. The collection has been quietly but assiduously assembled with great care and devotion--typical of the late Mr Seeger--over a period of many decades. I have been lucky enough to have been involved in some small degree at various stages of this during my professional career, but now, seeing the library entire for the first time, can truly appreciate the extraordinary depth and range of this collection, encompassing not only the sole remaining working autograph manuscripts by Conrad in private hands but a series of outstanding presentation and association copies, annotated proofs and rare editions."

Image via Sotheby's.com.