11 October 2002
KNOWLES, John (1926-2001). A Separate Peace. London: Secker & Warburg, 1959.
8o. Original green cloth, silver lettering on spine; pictorial dust jacket (some pale foxing on verso, few minor chips at edges, generally fine). Provenance: Ted Patrick, editor of Holiday (presentation inscription; bequested after his death in 1993 to:) [Montauk Public Library].
FIRST EDITION OF KNOWLES'S FIRST BOOK, his masterful coming-of-age novel and required reading for virtually every high school student in America. PRESENTATION COPY, WITH AN OUTSTANDING INSCRIPTION BY KNOWLES TO TED PATRICK on the title: "To Ted-- Who was the first person ever to publish my writing, this first copy of my first book-- With affection and gratitude, Jack. May 5, 1959." Ted Patrick edited Holiday, a glossy travel magazine with literary overtones. Knowles had contributed several pieces to the magazine in the late 1950s.
Another edition. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1960.
8o. (Few stains on first and last blank leaves.) Unbound signatures, folded and gathered. Provenance: Jeff Bergman (presentation inscription).
UNBOUND ADVANCE COPY OF THE FIRST AMERICAN EDITION. PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY KNOWLES TO JEFF BERGMAN on the front flyleaf: "To Jeff Bergman-- With all best thoughts-- John Knowles." Bergman was the son and successor of the founder of the original Womrath's bookstore on Lexington Avenue in New York.
TWO VERY FINE COPIES OF KNOWLES'S MASTERPIECE. Set at a prep school modeled on Knowles's alma mater, Phillips Exeter, the simple narrative unfolds in parallel with American involvement in the Second World War. The story of the friendship of Gene Forrester and Phineas and its tragic consequences has captured the imaginations of readers since publication in 1959. Millions of copies of A Separate Peace have been sold, with as many as 500,000 selling annually. (2)
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