Item #006887 Marlborough: His Life and Times, a full set of six U.S. first editions in the uniform issue dust jackets. Winston S. Churchill.
Marlborough: His Life and Times, a full set of six U.S. first editions in the uniform issue dust jackets
Marlborough: His Life and Times, a full set of six U.S. first editions in the uniform issue dust jackets
Marlborough: His Life and Times, a full set of six U.S. first editions in the uniform issue dust jackets
Marlborough: His Life and Times, a full set of six U.S. first editions in the uniform issue dust jackets

Marlborough: His Life and Times, a full set of six U.S. first editions in the uniform issue dust jackets

New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1933. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. This is a full, six-volume U.S. first edition set of Churchill’s Marlborough: His Life and Times in the publisher’s uniform issue blue and gold dust jackets. Marlborough is Winston Churchill’s monumental biography of his great ancestor, John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough.

The British first edition was issued in four volumes. The U.S. publisher chose to split the first two volumes into two books each, resulting in a six-volume set that is otherwise identical in content to the British. In 1938, upon publication of the sixth and final volume, the publisher chose to issue full sets of first edition volumes in uniform blue and gold dust jackets.

This set features exceptionally clean, fine volumes in very good dust jackets. The green cloth bindings are uniformly square, clean, bright, and tight, with sharp corners, and vivid spine gilt. We find only trivial shelf wear to extremities and a few incidental blemishes to covers. The contents are immaculate, with no previous ownership marks and no spotting in any of the volumes. Even the page edges, including the untrimmed fore edges, are improbably clean. Mild age-toning is the only appreciable indication of age. The dust jackets are all unclipped, each retaining the original “$2.75” front flap price. All six dust jackets are substantially complete, though with various small nicks, scuffs, a few small closed tears, and trivial loss to extremities, mostly confined to spine ends and corners. All six dust jackets are protected beneath clear, removable, archival covers.

Marlborough was conceived a full 40 years before publication of the final volume. Churchill originally considered the idea of the biography in 1898, returning to it in earnest in 1928. Marlborough ultimately took 10 years of research and writing and is the most substantial published work of Churchill's "wilderness years" in the 1930s, which he spent politically isolated, often at odds with both his own party and prevailing public sentiment. Churchill passed into his sixties with his own future as uncertain as that of his nation. It is perhaps not incidental that Churchill’s great work of the 1930s was about a great ancestor. Churchill may have wondered more than once if the life history he was writing might ultimately eclipse his own.

It has been said that "To understand the Churchill of the Second World War, the majestic blending of his commanding English with historical precedent, one has to read Marlborough.” The work was well received. Two months after Volume I was published, T.E. Lawrence wrote to Churchill: “Marlborough has the big scene-painting, the informed pictures of men, the sober comment on political method, the humour, irony and understanding… discipline and strength: and great dignity. It is history, solemn and decorative.” When Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953, it was partly for “mastery of historical and biographical description” on the strength of Marlborough, which was specifically cited and quoted by the Swedish Academy.

Reference: Cohen A97.4(I-VI).a, Woods/ICS A49(ba), Langworth p.169. Item #006887

Price: $1,600.00

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