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Djuna Barnes ‘The Ladies Almanack’ (1928)

Found in one of our catalogues from 2002 a very limited and exquisite edition of Djuna Barnes's The Ladies Almanack. It was found by Martin Stone in Paris and was catalogued by him for us. It sold fairly easily to a high end London dealer for £5000.

Djuna Barnes 'The Ladies Almanack' (Privately published, Paris 1928)

Small 4to.  pp 80. Illustrated. Number 4 of  10 copies on Verge de Vidalon with illustrations hand coloured by Djuna Barnes. The  complete first edition  was 1050 copies  In full vellum wraps with highly attractive hand coloured cover. Signed on the limitation page in Djuna Barnes hand as 'A Lady of Fashion' and also on fep presented  to Lady Rothermere signed  'Djuna Barnes, Paris 1928.' Lady Rothermere was married to the press baron Viscount Rothermere (Lord Harmsworth) and was  the patron of various writers most notably T.S. Eliot who was able to give up his bank job due to her financial assistance. 'Ladies Almanack'  was printed by Darantiere in Dijon and has a curious publishing history - it was originally to be published by Edward Titus at the Black Manikin Press in Paris. However when Djuna Barnes found out how much Titus was charging her she decided to publish and distribute the book herself with financial help from Robert McAlmon. The name Edward Titus is blacked out on the title page in all copies. The ordinary edition was $10, the hand coloured one of 40  $25 and the ten hand coloured and signed copies were $50 a sizeable sum in 1928. The work, a celebration of female sexuality and a rebuke to heterosexual patriarchy, portrays in disguised form, many of the cultural and artistic elite of the Parisian avant garde of the time- epecially the Lesbian circle which was gathered around Natalie Clifford Barney - Janet Flanner, Romaine Brooks, Solita Solano, Dolly Wilde ('Doll Furious') Lady Una Troubridge ('Lady Tilly Tweed-in-Blood') and Radclyffe Hall. Janet Flanner called her 'the most important woman writer we had in Paris.' In fine  fresh condition - an exemplary copy of this beautiful expatriate book; in tirage de tete the black orchid of Lesbian literature.

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2 thoughts on “Djuna Barnes ‘The Ladies Almanack’ (1928)

  1. Anonymous

    I was in a book shop outside of Paris years ago and a very rough-looking man weighed down with plastic bags full of books was very carefully going through the shop shelf by shelf. When I made a purchase after the man had left, there was some excitement among the staff about the man. After looking somewhat confused, I was told that he was named Martin Stone and he was a famous book scout. That was not the term they used in French, but I cannot remember what it was now.
    I was fascinated by this glimpse I had of a man who looked like the caretaker of Hogwarts and his name has come up many times by book dealers I know as a legend. It is considered an honor if he shows up in your shop and buys something.
    I also heard that someone wrote a book about him. Is this true? I would love to read more about him, but I have never been able to find such a book. Thank you for any insight you may have.

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  2. admin Post author

    Martin Stone has a wikipedia entry and there is a link there to a book on him by the late Peter Howard of Serendipity Bookshop, Berkeley. He is also covered at our old site Bookride and can sometimes be seen in our shop browsing the rare book section, a rocker and a reader and according to Howard the supreme book scout…

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