RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS

29 March 2007

Horizon. 1940 - 1949. Cyril Connolly.


Cyril Connolly (edits.,) HORIZON: A Review of Literature and Art. London 1940 - 1949.

Current Selling Prices
$750-$1400 /£380-£750


LITERATURE / PERIODICAL
The first periodical (apart from BLAST) that we have covered and not esp scarce although hard to find a complete clean looking set. You need 120 issues in all. Last catalogued by us thus:
Numbers 1-120/121, complete run. French issue not present. Contributors include:- John Piper, Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Paul Klee, Alun Lewis, George Orwell, Ian Fleming, Osbert Lancaster, Arthur Koestler, Vita Sackville-West, W.H. Auden, Henry Miller,T.S. Eliot, Henry Moore, Randall Jarrell, Augustus John, Christopher Isherwood, Anna Kavan, W.S. Graham, Lucien Freud, William Empson, Graham Greene, Ian Fleming, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick White, Bertrand Russell, Dylan Thomas, John Betjeman, Stephen Spender, Edouard Roditi, Diana Witherby, Andre Masson, John Craxton, Paul Bowles, Robert Colquhoun, Cecil Beaton, Wallace Stevens, Louis MacNeice, John Banting, Terence Heywood, Brian Howard, John Waller, Denton Welch, Eudora Welty, Graham Sutherland, Virginia Woolf. French issue not present. The first issue (number 1 from Jan 1940) is a presentation from the editor Cyril Connolly -- written at the top in CC's hand is 'To his friend Stuart Preston with the Editor's compliments.' Stuart Preston, an American art critic, was a legendary society figure - friend of Powell, Waugh, Lees Milne, Nicolson etc., and is the original of the character in Waugh's Sword of Honour known as 'The Loot' - in fact he was known as 'The Sergeant' being that rank in the US army.

The French isssue is particularly elusive and you need it to be complete. Individual issues sell for only a pound or 2 with the special issue given over entirely to Evelyn Waugh's 'The Loved One' (February 1948) going for about £15 if nice. It used to be more and there are some chaps still charging £60+ but it's pretty common. There is a healthy market in periodicals and they go well on ebay, some rarer literary ones going for $100+ (The Exile, Broom etc.,) There is a hardbound American magazine from the 1950s also called HORIZON (A Magazine of the Arts). It has almost no value at all and we have actually had to pay a little extra to leave it behind when buying collections of books. Quite heavy in quantity. Think Reader's Digest for lack of value. On ebay they ask $3.

I tend to make up sets from vast quantities of duplicates choosing the best example of each issue, at present we are selling the Stuart Preston set and a while back we got a whole lot of issues from Sonia Orwell's estate (No annotations by anybody sadly-- George Orwell was a frequent contributor and in fact met Sonia there.) Another load came with the Horizon name plate (in copper as I recall) that someone had unstuck from the door, possibly the last action before the doors of the office of the great periodical were shut forever. It was slightly oxidised.

Cyril Connolly, Horizon's editor, was a fine writer who never produced a great work but a few great short stories, some of biblio interest (Jonathan Edax). Katherine Knorr of the NY Times said of him:
"He was... that banal literary tragedy, a man of considerable talent who somehow never pulled off the masterpiece, something he better than anyone explained in "Enemies of Promise," the mixture of literary theory and autobiography that, along with "The Unquiet Grave," constitutes his legacy... in ''Unconditional Surrender'' Waugh created one Everard Spruce, the editor of a literary review who likes good food and parties and is surrounded by helpful young ladies... Waugh and his wonderful poison-pen pal Nancy Mitford called (Connolly) 'Smartyboots.'"

To be called 'Smartyboots' by Waugh was no disgrace, he could be pretty cruel and even said some unpleasant things about Stuart Preston (see above.) He was no lover of Americans. Probably galling for CC to see him turn out a whole handful of masterpieces. If Evelyn was Bowie then at the very least Cyril was Iggy Pop.

VALUE? There are usually complete sets for sale at between $700 and $1500. Ours is $1150 and when I last looked was still there. It has not gone up much in value over the last decade but there are always takers for it, sometimes institutional.
[ W/Q * ]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am looking for issues 13,27, 93/94, 108 & 117.
idedrich@idedrich.co.uk