Marlborough: His Life and Times, "Limited Presentation Edition" Winston S. Churchill.
Marlborough: His Life and Times, "Limited Presentation Edition"
Marlborough: His Life and Times, "Limited Presentation Edition"
Marlborough: His Life and Times, "Limited Presentation Edition"
Marlborough: His Life and Times, "Limited Presentation Edition"
Marlborough: His Life and Times, "Limited Presentation Edition"
Marlborough: His Life and Times, "Limited Presentation Edition"
Marlborough: His Life and Times, "Limited Presentation Edition"

Marlborough: His Life and Times, "Limited Presentation Edition"

London: George G. Harrap & Co., Ltd., 1939. "Limited Presentation Edition" Hardcover. This is a full, jacketed set of the "Limited Presentation Edition" of 1939 of Winston Churchill’s four-volume biography of his great ancestor, John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough.

After the fourth and final volume of Marlborough was published, in December 1939 the publisher, Harrap, issued what it called a "Limited Presentation Edition" with distinctive bindings and dust jackets unique to the edition. The bindings are medium purple cloth with silver spine lettering with the dust jackets printed in black and orange on cream paper. For Volume I, there was a 1939 printing unique to this edition. For Volume II, the publisher used sheets from the first edition, second and final printing. For volumes III & IV, the publisher used sheets from the first edition, only printing. The Limited Presentation Edition bindings proved even more prone to sunning than their first edition counterparts, often toning significantly even beneath the thin dust jackets, which themselves proved quite fragile and equally subject to sunning.

This set is in good condition, sound, jacketed, and scarce thus, but suffering typical cosmetic wear and flaws endemic to the edition. All four dust jackets retain the original publisher price on the lower front flaps. Nonetheless, the jackets are soiled, spotted, and spine-toned, with minor loss to the flap fold corners and larger loss to the spine ends, the most significant being loss to a maximum depth of 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) to the Volume I spine heel. All four dust jackets are protected beneath clear, removable, archival covers. All four purple cloth bindings are square and tight with various minor bumps and wear to extremities. The boards remain generally bright, the spines slightly toned, more severely toned at the spine ends corresponding to dust jacket losses. The contents are bright within with a crisp, unread feel, though spotted at the page edges, endpapers, and initial and terminal leaves. Affixed to each front pastedown is the armorial bookplate of “Northage John De Ville Mather". Further, tipped onto the Volume I front free endpaper recto is a color photograph of Marlborough and inked above a gift inscription “To Northage from Francesca”. Northage John De Ville Mather (1912-2003) served as a medical officer in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War, after which he earned a degree in psychological medicine and practiced at a Manchester hospital for 30 years.

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: A97.5, Woods/ICS A40(ad), Langworth p.172. Item #006982

Price: $450.00

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