Basil Seal Rides Again

or The Rake's Regress

WAUGH, Evelyn

INSCRIBED TO GRAHAM GREENE

WAUGH, Evelyn Basil Seal Rides Again or The Rake's Regress

Chapman & Hall, 1963.

First edition, signed limited edition. One of 750 copies, this one of approximately 50 out of series copies in the presentation state with a cancel half-title, not present in the remaining copies. Author's presentation copy, inscribed on the limitation leaf to Graham Greene, "For Graham with love to Unamuno, Fidel etc. from Evelyn". Original blue buckram, spine lettered in gilt, pictorial decoration to upper board gilt, in the original undersized acetate dustwrapper. Printed on mould made paper, top edge gilt, others uncut. With a colour frontispiece by Kathleen Hale. A fine copy with slight toning to the spine.

An exceptional association copy between two of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Waugh and Greene were contemporaries at Oxford though not friends at the time. They became acquainted around 1937 when Greene was editor of Night and Day and Waugh a contributor. Although of differing social and political outlooks, they became ardent admirers of one another's work. Of The Heart of The Matter, Waugh, normally a waspish reviewer wrote, "...of Mr Graham Greene alone among contemporary writers one can say without affectation that his breaking silence with a new serious novel is a literary event... [He] is a story-teller of genius."
Both were late converts to Catholicism and both viewed their faith from different standpoints. Eventually mutual admiration grew to mutual affection. Greene wrote, shortly after Waugh's death in 1966,
"But those who have built Evelyn up as a sort of sacred monster have left out the other side: they have ignored the man who have up from work which was essential to him to stay with the dying and no longer amusing Ronald Knox in the kind of hotel and the kind of resort he hated, who attended the deathbed of his friend Alfred Duggan and against all obstacles brought him the help he needed. When I come to die, I shall wish he [Waugh] were beside me, for he would give me no easy comfort. Our politics were a hundred miles apart and he regarded my Catholicism as heretical. What indeed had made us friends? He wrote to me in October 1952, 'I am just completing my forty-ninth year. You are just beginning yours. It is the grand climacteric which sets the course of the rest of one's life, I am told. It has been a year of lost friends for me. Not by death but by wear and tear. Our friendship started rather late. Pray God it lasts.' It did." (The Ways of Escape)
The inscription refers to Greene's impending visit to Cuba. Greene had travelled to Cuba to research Our Man in Havana in 1957 and met Castro. Miguel de Unamuno, the Spanish novelist and philosopher, was a literary hero of Greene's and he particularly admired his interpretation of Don Quixote (which in part inspired Greene's own Monsignor Quixote).
Waugh had arranged for 50 copies to be set aside for presentation but was dismayed to find that the book had no half-title. He insisted that 50 or so such leaves were printed and bound into his personal copies, thus creating a distinct bibliographic entity.

Stock ID: 35570

£15,000.00

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