9780786716548 / 0786716541

Nabokov's Butterfly: And Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books


3.66 avg rating109 ratings by GoodReads

Publisher:Da Capo Press, 2006



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About the book:

A first edition of Ulysses sold for $460,000 in auction at Christie's in 2002. The price might have upset the union chief, convicted gangster, and major-league James Joyce book collector Dennis Silverman, who had sold his copy, signed and inscribed by the author, for a mere $135,000 ten years earlier. Great books attract all kinds and come to fascinating destinies of their own, as Nabokov's Butterfly amply demonstrates. Here, noted author and rare book dealer Rick Gekoski whose vocation led to the BBC radio series titled Rare Books, Rare People, profiles twenty editions of major books that have passed through his hands and made publishing history, as they have become the legends of rare book collectors. Sued by J. D. Salinger, harassed by Harold Pinter, berated by Ted Hughes who unloaded his personal and passionately inscribed copy of Sylvia Plath's The Colossus, Gekoski is a convivial participant in these histories, including his sale of Mr. Tolkien's college gown. He recalls one day purchasing from Graham Greene his first edition of Lolita, with Nabokov's signature drawing of a butterfly inside, and on the next day he sold it to Elton John's lyricist at a $10,000 profit.

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