Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham - First Edition

cover of The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham
The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham

The Magician (London: Heinemann, 1908)


This post will describe the first edition of W. Somerset Maugham's novel The Magician, published in 1908, about a very unusual Maugham subject: the supernatural–a book which has won him many controversies concerning Aleister Crowley, the "wickedest man in the world."

The Magician - First Edition


I am very pleased to say that finally I have in my possession the genuine first edition of The Magician. I have discussed in an earlier post of a copy that I acquired in my early days of collecting, which is the 1921 Doran edition, which only contains the 1908 Duffield & co. copyright.

I have also talked about the content of the book—though largely ignored by Maugham (his success in the theatre pulled him out completely from the world of fiction writing) and the critics—, for which I have a genuine affection. For one, it captures my attention throughout and I enjoy the reading of it. I read it twice already and I wouldn't hesitate to read it the third time, which I will soon do, with the new copy that I have got. I think readers who enjoy Victorian Gothic will like it too.

Now, show and tell time. I know, I am like a child getting a new toy.... I am just going to show some pages which are a bit different from other books by Maugham.

The binding of the book is very similar to that of The Merry-Go-Round. However, instead of the usual advertisements of the books by the same author before the title page, the advertisements are for the new 6s novels.


The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham page ii
The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham
page ii

The copyright page lists both the English and American, which is the only time I have seen it like this.

The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham copyright page
The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham
copyright page

Then at the end, you have the advertisements of other novels by the same author and more after that by others, from Heinemann publications.

The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham advertisements
The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham
advertisements


The Magician at AbeBooks

8 comments :

  1. Congratulations! Did you ever see the orginal Duffield 1st with the wicked-looking cover art?

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    1. Thanks, Mike!
      I saw the photo. The price is very reasonable at the moment. It's tempting, but I have given others priority.
      A most disappointing event happened yesterday; after I finally decided to buy an expensive book it turned out that it was reserved the day before! Second time it happened! Simply too bad...

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  2. Was it a Maugham book? I just received a true first Ashenden for just $18! Sometimes we get lucky. I hope another one turns up on that book you want. The closest I got to a 1st Magician was a second printing that came out 1 month later.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it was.
      Congratulations on the Ashenden!
      And thanks for the wish! I do try to remind myself of how I got the Merry-Go-Round for nothing, after giving it up and forgetting about the outrageously priced copy...

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  3. Which book? Hopefully it's not one that I have a deposit on. I found the Ashenden 1st at worldofbooksUSA. They have a store on eBay. Funny thing is the book shipped from England. Do you mind if I ask what country you are in? Have you seen the most absurdly-priced "Land of the Blessed Virgin" 3rd binding variant? Some fool just recently put it up on either eBay or Abe for $15,000!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mike,
      I remember seeing on ebay some very outrageously priced Maugham books, some that are not even first editions. Well, talking about that, I understand that when buying from an antique bookseller one's guaranteed and research has been done for you already, but still, some are just so expensive.

      Wow! That's unbelievable. Is it a signed copy dedicated to someone famous too? I mean the Land of the Blessed Virgin.

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  4. Really awesome, in-depth information! Thanks for all the great tips, it's nice to see them all in one place.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Darryl,
      Thank you very much for taking the time to comment, and I am very glad that you find my blog useful!

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