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Voices Of Che Guevara, Bernard Shaw And Darwin, Speak Through Their Letters - At Bonhams
Che Guevara is present in this auction with his First Edition, Author's Presentation Copy, of his writing on revolution. Photo: EFE/Manuel Iglesias/yv
LONDON.- Bonhams next sale of Printed Books, Photographs and Manuscripts in London on 23rd June contains material from Shakespeare to Shaw and Che Guevara to Crippen, all of which will be of significant interest to lovers of literature and history.

Che Guevara is present in this auction with his FIRST EDITION, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY, of his writing on revolution, inscribed: "para Rob Taber... New York, 13/12/64" estimate £1,000-2,000. This presentation copy from Che Guevara to Robert Taber, a journalist and author, was inscribed on the occasion of Che's visit to New York in December 1964, when he addressed the United Nations assembly as head of the Cuban delegation. Che gave an impassioned speech on the plight and anger of the masses in Latin America, and railed against the policy of apartheid in South Afica, denouncing both the UN and the USA for their lack of intervention.

Robert Taber had travelled to Cuba in the late 1950s as a CBS investigative journalist to cover the country's burgeoning revolutionary movement, and took part in the famous March to Havana with the revolutionaries, led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.

Correspondence between Dr Crippen and the Drouet Institute of the Aural Remedies Company includes a prescription and letters discussing his treatment of a patient in 1910. Chillingly there is also a set of testimonials illustrated with photos of some of Crippens supposedly happy patients. Much of the correspondence dates from the months following the disappearance of his wife (last seen alive on 31 January, 1910 ) and his subsequent flight on July 9. The correspondence is estimated to sell for £600 to £900.

Charles Darwin In a signed letter to his future daughter-in-law, Sara Sedgwick, emerges not as a cold and distant scientist, but as a warm loving family man. The letter is estimated to sell for £3,000 to £4,000.

In this letter, lot 28, Darwin says to his future daughter-in-law: "My dear Sara, I must tell you how deeply I rejoice over my son's good fortune: You will believe me' when I say that for very many years I have not seen any woman, whom I have liked & esteemed so much as you. -- I hope & firmly believe that you you will be very happy together, notwithstanding that you may find Southampton rather a dull place, about which my son feels such great fears. His dread that you are sacrificing too much in giving up your American home is natural, but I trust will prove groundless. -- Judging from my own experience life would be a most dreary blank without a dear wife to love with all one's soul. I can say with absolute truth that no act or conduct of William has ever in his whole life caused me one minute's anxiety or disapproval. His temper is beautifully sweet & affectionate & he delights in doing little kindnesses. That you may be happy together is my strong desire, & I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having accepted him..."); subscribing himself "My dear Sara/ yours affectionately", 3 pages, 8vo, 29 September [1877]

"JUDGING FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE LIFE WOULD BE A MOST DREARY BLANK WITHOUT A DEAR WIFE TO LOVE WITH ALL ONE'S SOUL": DARWIN WELCOMES AN AMERICAN GIRL INTO THE FAMILY, in a most touching letter that illustrates his well-known qualities of sympathy and kindness as a family man. Sara, the recipient, was daughter of Theodore Sedgwick of New York and married William Erasmus Darwin, Charles and Emma's beloved eldest child, on 29 November 1877. The couple were not in fact to live in the "rather dull" Southampton, where William was partner in a bank, but at nearby North Stoneham.

Playright, Bernard Shaw, is represented by numerous lots including letters to a schoolmaster asking that his plays be left off the school curriculum as he wishes to avoid, “the intense hatred of Shakespeare which has arisen during my lifetime.”

In a letter signed (“G.B.S.”), to J.K. Annand of the University Union, Edinburgh, who had solicited Shaw’s support for Mrs Webb in her stand against G.K. Chesterton and Churchill for the rectorship of Edinburgh University: “If Beatrice Webb could poll all the universities of the world neither Churchill nor Chesterton would have a dog’s chance against her. Even as it is neither Churchill nor Chesterton is quite stupid and illiterate enough to be quite certain of victory”; written in pencil on the reverse of Annand’s letter to Shaw; with Shaw’s autograph envelope, Shaw’s letter one page, framed and glazed (unexamined out of frame but evidently in good condition), 8vo, Malvern, 23 August 1929. Estimate £200-300. Shaw’s prognostications notwithstanding, it was Churchill who won the contest, and he served as Rector of Edinburgh University from 1929 to 1932.

Life with George Orwell (Eric Blaire) is brought to life in a series of five autograph and typed letters signed ("Pig") by Orwell's first wife Eileen. The first letter provides a memorable portrait of the life she shared with Orwell at his parents house in Southwold.

"I have since played with three cats, made a cigarette (I make them now but not with the naked hand), poked the fire & driven Eric (i.e. George) nearly mad -- all because I don't really know what to say. I lost my habit of punctual correspondence during the first few weeks of marriage because we quarrelled so continuously & really bitterly that I thought I'd save time & just write one letter to everyone when the murder or separation had been accomplished. The Eric's aunt came to stay & was so dreadful (she stayed two months) that we stopped quarrelling & just repined. Then she went away & now all our troubles are over. They arose partly because mother drove me so hard in the first week of June that I cried all the time from pure exhaustion & partly because Eric had decided that he mustn't let his work be interrupted & complained bitterly when we'd been married a week that he'd only done two good days' work out of seven...") The three letters are estimated to make £3,000-4,000.

Shakespeare’s Second, Third and Fourth folios all estimated to sell for £15,000 to £20,000 each would form a fine cornerstone for anyone intent on building and investing in a library of English literature.

A note in folio four which included the play, Pericles, reads: “This book must never go out of my family. It was for many yearls the Delight of my good Father’s life to study and correct. P. Francis Sheen, 8th June 1793.” There are numerous notes and comments in the body of the copy, for example a passage in The Tempest has been crossed through and it is noted “Shakespeare could not have written such senseless drollery......unnatural buffoonery.”

Bonhams | Crippen | Orwell | Che Guevara | Bernard Shaw | Darwin |


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