Dedication Copy, Inscribed to Alfred Turner

Far Off Things.

London: Martin Secker, 1922.

Price: $2,250.00


About the item

First trade edition, published in September 1922 (a limited edition of 100 signed copies was issued in August). [4], 158, [2], pp. First leaf is a blank. 1 vols. 8vo. Dedication Copy, Inscribed to Alfred Turner. Original olive green cloth, spine titled in gilt. Spine a bit faded. Very good copy lacking the dust jacket. Goldstone & Sweetser 20c; Valentine, p. 99; Gawsworth, pp.224-5, 242; Bleiler "Writers" p. 358; NCBEL 4:646.

Item #354229

One of Machen’s excellent volumes of autobiography, recounting the stories of his hard apprenticeship, published during the sunny days of the Machen revival in the 1920s.

Inscribed, “Again, with all gratitude to Alfred Turner from Arthur Machen October 5th 1922”

There is a two-page Dedication to Alfred Turner— “one of the best friends that Machen ever encountered” (Gawsworth) — who was acting editor of the (London) Evening News in those days. Turner commissioned thirty-five instalments of the “Confessions of a Literary Man” published in the paper from March to July 1915 and first collected here. The book was successful enough that Secker published another volume, Things Near and Far, in January 1923. Gawsworth reports that Machen, in mid-September 1914, had “thought of another tale, ‘The Bowmen’, which was concerned with the ghostly archers of Agincourt coming to the aid of the hard-pressed expeditionary force. He wrote it out, one night at home, and sent it to Turner to take or leave. On Spetember 29th the story appeared in the paper; his editor, considering its subject topical, had accepted it” (242). And so one of the great modern legends of the war was launched.

“Although he detested journalism, his Johnsonian manner and compelling character established him as one of Fleet Street's most charismatic figures. The Evening News carried several of his wonder stories, and the appearance in September 1914 of his wartime fantasy 'The Bowmen' brought him to public attention. [...] Machen's reminiscences, Far Off Things (1922) and Things Near and Far (1923), movingly recaptured his youth in Monmouthshire and his struggles as a writer during the fin de siècle, and revealed the depth of his dedication to literature” (ODNB).

A choice Machen association.