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    The Exceedingly Rare Unbound Sheets of the First Edition

    H. P. Lovecraft. The Shunned House. Athol, Mass.: Published by W. Paul Cook / The Recluse Press, 1928.

    First edition, unbound sheets. 58 unopened small quarto pages (8.5 x 5.5 inches; 215 x 140 mm.). Inscribed by Frank Belknap Long (who provided the preface) to collector Philip J. Grill. The copyright notice ("copyright 1928") has been cancelled by pasting a typed piece of paper over the date on the copyright page listing the copyright history of the short story.

    The eight signatures of text rest between two acid-free pasteboards and have been slid into an archival-quality mylar sleeve and placed in a simple custom portfolio case with marbled paper-covered boards and a burgundy cloth spine. Near fine.

    "The Shunned House is a classic tale of a noxious dwelling in Providence, which had been built over the long-forgotten graveyard of a mysterious Huguenot. An immense, jelly-like being is discovered buried under the house and is destroyed with concentrated sulfuric acid, thus rendering the house once more habitable." (Jaffery)

    In 1928 W. Paul Cook endeavored to published H. P. Lovecraft's lengthy short story "The Shunned House" -- a piece which had been turned down by Weird Tales magazine -- but because of his meager finances and ill health, Cook was never able to have the book bound. The 300 or so complete sheets for The Shunned House have made their way through several hands over the decades, leaving a shadowy and convoluted trail. After languishing at in a Boston bindery for some years, they made their way to Walter J. Coates, who, also because of financial difficulties, was unable to fund the binding. Eventually R. H. Barlow acquired the sheets with the intention to publish them. It seems that while in his possession, Barlow had a few copies bound - copies which were presented to Lovecraft and author Clark Ashton Smith. By about 1949 Arkham House received the then-extant run of the unbound sheets of The Shunned House, which had dwindled to about 150 copies. In 1959 Arkham House sold about 50 copies, unbound. In 1961, Arkham House had the remaining 100 copies bound and offered for sale. This copy seems to be from the unbound batch Arkham House sold. Frank Belknap Long dates his inscription March 15, 1960. This, Philip Jack Grill's copy, is listed in A Catalog of Lovecraftiana: The Grill / Binkin Collection (Baltimore: The Mirage Press, 1975), which is also offered with this lot. An incredible association copy of this famous Lovecraft rarity.

    Curry. Bleiler. Derleth, Thirty Years of Arkham House. Jaffery, The Arkham Companion.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2008
    16th-18th Thursday-Saturday
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