SELBY, Hubert Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn.

London: Calder & Boyars, 1968.

£1200

8vo., burgundy canvas boards with lettering in gilt to spine; original jacket by Ed Day; pp. xvii, [v], 234; dust wrapper price clipped and a little sunned to spine; last page with a horizontal tear to upper edge approximately 5cm long (not affecting text); otherwise a fine copy.

Second, "Post-Trial" UK edition, as noted by the publishers. Inscribed by the author on the half-title to his British co-publisher: "Dear Marion [Boyars] - thanks for being notorious, & thanks for being, Love, Cubby, 12/3/89". Laid-in are the following letters and cards to Boyars:

1) A brief typed letter signed from John Mortimer (Henley-on-Thames, 2 December 1989) regretting that he "can't make Dec 6th, but do give Mr. Selby my regards and fond memories of his book." (Mortimer sucessfully represented the publishers in their appeal against the banning of the book under the Obscene Publications Act the previous year and it appears Boyars was planning a party to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the trial);

2) Autograph postcard signed from Roy Jenkins - the principle sponsor in 1959 of the parlimentary bill which became the act (London, 5 December 1989) expressing similar regrets;

3) Autograph greetings card signed from the author (n.p. 30 January 1999) inquiring after Boyars' health and offering encouragement in facing the depredations of old age;

4) Typed letter signed (Cambridge, 24 April 1967) from the American sociologist Peter Blau offering to testify at the appeal, together with a carbon copy of Boyars' reply.

Last Exit to Brooklyn was banned in Italy after its release, and was subject to a public obscenity trial to which many of these documents refer. Its gritty, frank and honest portrayls of Brooklyn's gang violence have led it to become a cult classic, with Allen Ginsberg writing that "it will explode like a rusty hellish bombshell over America and still be eagerly read in a hundred years". This 'Post-Trial' addition also includes an introduction by Anthony Burgess.

A fascinating grouping relating to one of the last major trials concerning the censorship of literature in Britain.

Provenance: Arthur Boyars.

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