NABOKV-L post 0014306, Thu, 7 Dec 2006 22:49:15 -0500

VN Bibliography: Gekokski, Nabokov's Butterfly
The story of Graham Greene selling his own butterfly-signed copy of LOLITA
to Elton John has been told before on this list, but I don't recall that the
following book has been mentioned:

Rick Gekokski, "Nabokov's Butterfly: And Other Stories of Great Authors and
Rare Books"
Publisher: Carroll & Graf; 1st edition (May 28, 2006)
ISBN: 0786716541

Book Description:
A first edition of Ulysses sold for $460,000 in auction at Christie’s in
2002. The price might have upset the union chief, convicted gangster, and
major-league James Joyce book collector Dennis Silverman, who had sold his
copy, signed and inscribed by the author, for a mere $135,000 ten years
Great books attract all kinds and come to fascinating destinies of their
own, as Nabokov’s Butterfly amply demonstrates. Here, noted author and rare
book dealer Rick Gekoski — whose vocation led to the BBC radio series titled
Rare Books, Rare People, — profiles twenty editions of major books that have
passed through his hands and made publishing history, as they have become
the legends of rare book collectors.
Sued by J. D. Salinger, harassed by Harold Pinter, berated by Ted Hughes who
unloaded his personal and passionately inscribed copy of Sylvia Plath’s The
Colossus, Gekoski is a convivial participant in these histories, including
his sale of Mr. Tolkien’s college gown. He recalls one day purchasing from
Graham Greene his first edition of Lolita, with Nabokov’s signature drawing
of a butterfly inside, and on the next day he sold it to Elton John’s
lyricist at a $10,000 profit.

A. Bouazza.

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