Cordon Bleu recipes, Mughal India, Karma, 'method acting' bible, Communist Malaya, A Separate Reality, Rome, Engels, rare SEAsia travel book, Donne.
This week, some fantastic books on Asia and some important classics.
First, we have a beautiful copy of Travels in the East Indian Archipelago by Albert S Bickmore. This American naturalist's detailed journal of his journey across Indonesia is filled with beautiful engravings and interesting anecdotes.
Another travel book on Asia is the classic Travels in India by Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, a 17th century French gem merchant who travelled to India and visited the court of the Moghul emperors Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. Known for his travels and insights, Tavernier later wrote his most famous work, The Six Voyages, based on these travels and others at the behest of Louis XIV.
Two more interesting books on Asia. The first is The Camp Across the River, an account of some anti-communist battles fought in Malaya, and the second is Karma by Lafcadio Hearn, a book of short stories and essays by the author most famous for his writings on Japan.
For fans of Carlos Castaneda and Native American shamanism, we have the first UK edition, which is also the first hardcover edition, of the famous 1971 work A Separate Reality. This book describes Castaneda's apprenticeship with Don Juan, in which he consumes psychotropic plants in order to "see" things as they really are. This book has been featured in TV series such as Lost and True Detective, and in the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
Next, some important books on the arts. We have An Array of Recipes from ‘École du petit Cordon Bleu’ a small cookbook by the first female graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, as well as An Actor Prepares by Constantine Stanislavsky, one of the most important books ever written on how to act. Out of this came the "method acting" school of all the great American actors such as Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Nicholson, etc.
Lastly, two lovely books - a small 2-volume set of the poems of John Donne, and an illustrated book on Rome.
Travels in the East Indian Archipelago – Albert S Bickmore (1869)
1st US edition, scarce. The author was an American naturalist and one of the founders of the American Museum of Natural History. He traveled to South-east Asia in 1865 and kept a journal, recording his journey “day by day” with scrupulous care. With gorgeous engravings.
An Array of Recipes from ‘École du petit Cordon Bleu’ (1939)
The main writer, Dione Lucas (1909 – 1971) was an English chef (one of the world's first celebrity chefs), and the first female graduate of Le Cordon Bleu. Lucas was fundamental in establishing an extension of the famous Paris culinary school in London in the 1930s.
1st UK edition, scarce. Concerning the events that took place - under the influence of the psychotropic plants peyote and Psilocybe mushrooms - during Castaneda's apprenticeship with a Yaqui Indian Sorcerer, Don Juan Matus, between 1960 and 1965.
2 vols, complete. John Donne (1573 – 1631) was an English poet and cleric in the Church of England. He is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets. His works are noted for their strong, sensual style and include sonnets, love poems, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires and sermons.
1st edition. The stories and articles by Lafcadio Hearn in this volume are now collected in book form for the first time. They rank with his best work. The opening story, “Karma,” is the most personal product from Hearn’s pen, as he rarely took the public into his confidence.
A look at some of the anti-Communist battles fought by the police force of Malaya. “A grim, hard-bitten factual account of jungle warfare…Stark authenticity that strikes up at you from the page as you read.” – Manchester Evening News
An Actor Prepares – Constantin Stanislavsky (1936)
1st edition. A legendary book on acting – the foundation of modern “method acting” and probably the most influential modern book on acting. Deals with many different areas of acting skills, including action, imagination, concentration of attention, etc.
Alberto Pisa (1864 – 1936) was an Italian painter, often painting ruins, landscapes, and garden views in bright watercolor. He was widely exhibited in his time, with shows and permanent collections across Europe. With descriptions of Rome in text by M. A. R. Tuker and Hope Malleson.
2nd edition, scarce. An extraordinary wealth of information on the reigns of Shah-Jahan and Aurangzeb, including trade routes, coinage, religious practices, military movements and conquests, and just about every aspect of everyday life in India very astutely and closely observed.
The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State – Frederick Engels (1902)
1st edition. A historical materialist treatise by Engels. It is partially based on notes by Karl Marx to Lewis H. Morgan’s book Ancient Society. An early anthropological work, regarded as one of the first major works on family economics.