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Evelyn Waugh first editions

English novelist Evelyn Waugh's (1903-1966) modern first editions are highly collectible, noted for their dust jackets as well as their witty satire of fashionable London society, the English upper classes, and the young intellectuals of the 1920s.

His first publications were Decline and Fall, Vile Bodies, 1930, Black Mischief, A Handful of Dust, Scoop, 1938 and The Loved One.
His conversion to Catholicism in 1930 can be observed in the most well-known novel of these early years, Brideshead Revisited, the least satirical of his books.

His experience as a Officer in WW2 provided the material for the trilogy consisting of Men at Arms (1952), Officers and Gentlemen (1954), and Unconditional Surrender (1961; U.S. The End of the Battle), whose central character is Guy Crouchback. These books project a more sober view of life, which at times verges on misanthropy.

Collecting Evelyn Waugh Modern First Editions

Waugh first editions can range in value from approximately £100 for titles from the 1950s, to over £10,000 for key titles from the 1920s & '30s. Some first editions have 'issue points', which can have a significant bearing on value, such as the dust-jacket 'masthead' on Scoop (1938), so it is always worth talking to a specialists if you are looking to buy or sell.

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  1. Autograph letter, signed to Evelyn Waugh; 8vo; Buckingham Palace, 27th October 1948, thanking him for his gift of his novel, The Loved One, 'having read it with enormous pleasure in Horizon, I am enchanted to have the book in such lovely guise, the thick smooth paper & beautiful print and the perfect illustrations are a joy. It is many years since I have enjoyed & admired a book as much as The Loved One, it is so brilliant, so funny & so horrifying, just what one needs in this rather grey self conscious world of today'; 3 pp. folds, envelope.

  2. First edition, first impression; 8vo; 8 black and white illustrated plates, including portrait frontispiece of Rossetti, scattered marginal foxing; publisher's maroon cloth, titles to spine gilt, some spotting to edges, endpapers slightly toned, with the printed dust jacket, light soiling and staining to jacket, particularly to spine and back panel, a few small closed tears to edges of front and back panels.

  3. First edition, first impression; 8vo; frontispiece and 5 plates by the author. Publisher's red and black, snakeskin cloth, titles to spine gilt. With the Waugh-designed dust jacket. Spine a little rolled, very light spotting to the fore edge, and excellent copy in the somewhat rubbed sand sunned dust jacket with some trivial loss at two corners. Importantly the title lettering on the the spine is entirely legible. Uncommon thus.

  4. First edition, signed by the author, number 7 of 110 copies, with a page of the original manuscript tipped in; 8vo; illustrated frontispiece after a drawing by Waugh, photographic plates, decorated endpapers, endpapers with tape marks; publisher's light blue cloth, spine lettered in gilt, top edge gilt, an unusually fine copy of a scarce item.

  5. First trade edition; 8vo; frontispiece with map illustration, some foxing; publisher's black and red patterned boards, spine gilt, original tan dust jacket printed in red and black, dust jacket with overall browning, dust-soiling and rubbing, small nicks to spine ends and tips; presented in a black cloth slipcase with gilt-lettered black morocco label; overall a very good copy.

  6. First edition, one of the limited issue, number 105 of 250 large paper copies signed by the author, large 8vo., plates and illustrations by the author not included in the trade edition. Publisher's purple silk, device to upper board and titles to spine gilt, top edge gilt, others uncut, with the silk marker ribbon intact (though frayed at very end. Spine faded as usual but an unusually nice copy.

  7. First edition, first impression; 8vo; small ownership inscription to front free endpaper; publisher's grey and navy speckled cloth, spine in dark blue, blue topstain, with the dust jacket. An excellent copy in the nicked and very slightly chipped, internally strengthened dust jacket with the typical faded to the red printing at the spine.

  8. New edition, the first to include the Waugh preface, inscribed presentation copy from Evelyn Waugh; 8vo; illustrations by Christopher Sykes; publisher's cloth, pictorial yellow dust-jacket; housed in custom cloth drop-back box. An excellent copy in the dust jacket.

  9. First editions, three volumes, 8vo., a few minor spots to endpapers and fore-edge of first two volumes, publisher's blue cloth, spines lettered in gilt, original dust-jackets printed in red and blue, black and yellow, not price-clipped, the first volume with small chips to head of spine and slightly rubbed on corners, slight fading to spine of first two volumes, a few spots on inner flaps of second, otherwise very good plus.

  10. First edition, trade issue; 4to (280 x 280 mm.); 12 transfer lithographs by Nicholson, usual offsetting onto text leaves; publisher's cloth-backed pictorial boards, usual darkening, some marking to lower cover, but overall a very good, sharp copy.

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