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    With an Eight-Line Presentation Inscription by Jack London to Author Charles Warren Stoddard

    [Jack London]. The Kempton-Wace Letters. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1903.

    First edition, first issue, without the author's names on the title page. Presentation copy, inscribed by Jack London with a quote from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam on the front free endpaper: "To dear Charles Warren Stoddard-/'Indeed, indeed, Repentance/oft before/I swore-but was I/sober when I swore?'/Jack London./The Bungalow,/June 6, 1903." Octavo. [6], 256, [3, ads], [3, blank] pages. Written in collaboration with Anna Strunsky and published anonymously. With a sheet inserted at front containing an ink notation in Charles Warren Stoddard's hand: "These Letters were/written by two hands-namely:-/'Dane Kempton' by/Anna Strunsky, a/Russian Jewess./and/Herbert Wace by/Jack London."

    Original grayish-blue cloth, with front decoratively stamped in black in an all-over floral design and lettered in white, with spine decoratively stamped in gilt and black and lettered in gilt. Top edge gilt, others uncut. Minimal rubbing to corners and spine ends. Front hinge cracked, but sound; rear hinge starting. Otherwise a fine, bright copy. Housed in a worn custom gilt-stamped dark blue morocco-edged cloth slipcase.

    Issued very early in his career -- in fact, in the same year as his now-classic The Call of the Wild -- The Kempton-Wace Letters was a collaborative novel consisting of an epistolary discussion of the philosophy of love, written anonymously by Jack London and Anna Strunsky, a woman with whom the then-married London was romantically involved. Charles Warren Stoddard (1843-1909) was a California poet and author of many travel narratives, including The Lepers of Molokai (1885), the title of which London borrowed for an article in the Woman's Home Companion in 1908. As evidenced by London's breezy letters to the older Stoddard, the two appear to have been on quite friendly terms. In one letter from 1900, London -- referring to Stoddard's books on the South Seas -- writes: "You are responsible. You have sown the seeds of unrest in me." A wonderful association item.

    BAL 11875. London, Walker, and Reesman, No Mentor But Myself: Jack London on Writing and Writers.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-16th Thursday-Saturday
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