Sale 20FL02 | Lot 86


Catalogue: Fine Literature

Lot Details

Lot 86
New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, [1958]. First American edition, inscribed "for Jason and Barbara/from/Vladimir/August 18, 1958" and with a small ink drawing of a butterfly with some added red. Publisher's cloth backed boards, red endpapers, top edge stained red, lacks dust jacket, housed in a folding cloth case. 8 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches (21.5 x 14 cm); 319 pp.The inscription with a minor smudge to the recipient's name and the leaf with a minor stain to the edge, spotting and toning to extremities, minor fraying to spine tips.
Scarce signed in any edition, this is the first American edition of Lolita inscribed by Nabokov on the day of its publication to Jason Epstein, his Doubleday editor and an early supporter of the novel. Having published Nabokov's Pnin at Doubleday in 1957, Epstein encouraged the house to publish Lolita to no avail (four American publishers refused to publish the work) but was successful in printing the first appearance of the novel in America, a long excerpt in the June 1957 issue of Doubleday's Anchor Review. G.P. Putnam's published the sensational book in America the following summer and it became the first novel since Gone with the Wind to sell 100,000 copies in its first three weeks. Inscribed copies of both the 1955 Paris first edition and this 1958 first American edition are equally scarce due to Nabokov's refusal to sign copies. Vera Nabokov noted this in a letter accompanying a signed copy of the 1958 edition to Anita Loos, that her husband "has been autographing Lolita only for personal friends and the very few writers whose work he admires. He has refused his autograph to so many of his own students and to so many of his acquaintances that it would be impossible for him to make an exception... " See: Nabokov, Selected Letters, 1940-77, ed. D. Nabokov and M. J. Bruccoli, p. 265. Also: Tock, Emily. Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov and Jason Epstein: A Study in Authorial Extravagance and Editorial Restraint in The Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Volume 48, Issue 4, July 2017, pp. 268-281.

C Property of Jason Epstein and Judith Miller

Estimate: $5,000 - $8,000
Sold for $55,625 (includes buyer's premium)

Additional Notes & Condition Report

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Estimate: $5,000 - $8,000
Sold for $55,625 (includes buyer's premium)

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Catalogue Info

Fine Literature

Wed, Sep 30, 2020 at 10am EDT