Dedication Copy, ‘to my very dear friend’

Dudley and Gilderoy: A Nonsense.

London: Ernest Benn Limited, 1929.

Price: $3,500.00

About the item

First edition. With line illustrations in text. 281, [1, imprint] pp. 1 vols. 8vo. Dedication Copy, ‘to my very dear friend’. Black cloth spine, grey cloth over boards. Minor rubbing. Very good copy without the dust jacket. with loosely inserted typed note from the author’s agents. Ashley A.29.1 (first binding); for Parker, see Ashley, Starlight Man, pp. 151, 278-9, 313-3.

Item #354225

“In appearance Dudley wass dignified, solemn, sincere, aristocratic; his slick feathers glistened, he was extremely soigné. Gilderoy was — otherwise”.
Whimsical tale of an African King grey parrot and a one-eyed alleycat, from the celebrated author of supernatural tales, Algernon Blackwood (1869-1951). Dudley & Gilderoy, “although ostensibly a children’s story about the adventures of a parrot and a cat, was too philosophical for children, and is really more a critique on 1920s society” (Encyclopedia of Fantasy). It was later abridged and adapted as a children’s book by Marion Cothren in 1941.

This is one of two dedication copies (the other being to Mrs. Muir Mackenzie, owner of Dudley). Inscribed by the author on the front flyleaf, “To my very dear friend Louis Parker from Algernon Blackwood”.
With a typed letter from the author’s agents A.P. Watt, conveying the book at Blackwood’s request. The dedicatee, Louis Napoleon Parker (1851-1944), was an English composer and dramatist whose successful plays included Disraeli (1911) and adaptations of David Copperfield and W.W. Jacobs’ “The Monkey’s Paw” (1903). Parker had owned an African grey which Blakwood knew well. “Koko is the real Dudley and Parker reveals all about him in his autobiography Several of My Lives” (Ashley, 278). In the earlier Bio-Bibliography, Ashley wote, “Dudley the parrot is probably Blackwood’s most memorable character”. Dudley & Gilderloy was one of Blackwood’s most profitable books, “remaining in print for over twenty years and selling regularly every year” (279)
Shortly after the publication of John Silence (1908), Parker had approached Blackwood. “to get his strikingly original and weird atmosphere on the stage … We grappled with the problem a long time, but ultimately came to the conclusion that it was insoluble.” The idea of theatre interested Blackwood, and he was closely involved with efforts to adapt A Prisoner of Fairyland to the stage as The Starlight Express. In October 1940, Blackwood’s house received a direct hit (he survived because he was in an air raid shelter in the back yard) and the author came to Devon at Parker’s suggestion. They collaborated on adapting Blackwood’s stories for the BBC.