27 March 2007

Ilsa. Madeleine L'Engle, NY 1946.

Madeleine L'Engle. ILSA. Vanguard Press, NY 1946.

Current Selling Prices
$350-$750 / £200-£400

Scarce and much wanted novel by juvenile cult SF writer. Her works reflect her strong interest in modern science; mitochondrial DNA, for instance, is featured prominently in A Wind in the Door, tesseracts in A Wrinkle in Time, organ regeneration in Arm of the Starfish and so forth. Mitochondrial DNA also interested Patricia Cornwell, as I recall, in her hunt for the Ripper-- world class painter Sickert, apparently.

Ilsa is said to be a rather disturbing but, au fond, an unsatisfactory work and Ms L'Engle has never allowed it to be reprinted, although signed copies are not unknown.The Wikiman says '...(its) continued unavailability appears to stem from the author's own reported dissatisfaction with the book.'

VALUE? A couple of ex libs around $200, half decent $400 and 2 signed in jackets at $500 and $900. No copies sound anything approaching fine. The Vanguard Press has published some interesting writers including M.P. Sheil, Dr. Seuss, Rex Stout, Patrick Dennis, Pierre Boulle, James T. Farrell and Saul Bellow's first two books. They also seem to have done some vanity publishing including a very strange conspiracy theory book on the Beatles in the 1970s which I have only seen once. Some Vanguard books were only printed in small quantities and are hard to find.[ W/ Q ** ]

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