Welcome to Neil Pearson Rare Books

Neil Pearson has collected rare books for thirty years: his specialism is nineteenth and twentieth century first edition literature, with a particular interest in the expatriate literary movement of Paris between the wars. He is the author of Obelisk (Liverpool University Press, 2007), a history of the notorious Paris imprint which in the 1930s published the early work of, among others, Henry Miller, Laurence Durrell and Ana├»s Nin. In 2011 he researched, compiled and wrote They Were What They Were: A Catalogue of Early Gay Fiction, 1862 -1960. More information about both of these titles can be found here.

After buying books for so many years, he is delighted finally to be selling some.



News For July



Neil Pearson's film, A Very British Pornographer, about Obelisk Press publisher Jack Kahane and his fight to publish Henry Miller's Tropic Of Cancer in Paris in the 1930s, first scheduled for screening on BBC4 on May 6, has now been postponed after channel controllers expressed concern about the language used in it. The film, about the fight against literary censorship in the 1930s, written and presented by our proprietor and shot in Paris earlier this year, begins with a quotation from Tropic Of Cancer, and it is this quotation, and its position at the beginning of the film, to which BBC4 objects.

Tropic of Cancer was first published in 1934, declared not to be obscene by the US Supreme Court in 1964, and we very much hope to be able to quote from it freely, in a film about literary censorship, on BBC4 some time in 2015. More news when we're given some.  

An article written by Neil to accompany the film can be read here. The article, written for the BBC website, will also be available there if and when a transmission date for the film is set. 



Among the recent additions to our website is a collection of plays by Terence Rattigan, most first or first US editions, all inscribed to his secretary of seventeen years, Mary Herring. Herring went to work for Rattigan in 1946, a week before the premiere of The Winslow Boy, and rapidly became her employer's good, faithful and extremely discreet servant, a position she held until 1963. Rattigan inscribed to Mary a copy of each new play he wrote during that time, and the collection also includes plays, such as French Without Tears, which pre-date her employment -- suggesting she got Rattigan plays for her birthday and at Christmas, too. The inscriptions range from the functional, to the effusive, to the intimate. Variation On A Theme was presented to her on the day Rattigan was awarded the CBE (Mary accompanied him to Buckingham Palace): the inscription is excited and grateful, and is signed 'Terry, Commander BE'. And in her copy of The Sleeping Prince, Rattigan thanks her for supporting him through his 'ordeal': the fact of his homosexuality having recently become known in government circles. The books speak of a close professional and personal relationship between the two, and are for the most part in very good to very near fine condition. A complete list of the books can be found here.



You can browse our most recent E-lists, one featuring material covering a wide range of subjects -- Modern First Editions, TV Comedy, Paris and Erotica -- can be found here

A second, more modestly priced list covers subjects guaranteed to lift the winter gloom, among them 1920s vegetarianism, antiquarian spanking, and a treatise on hanging. The list can be found  here



We have recently added to the website a run of volumes from the library of Spike Milligan: books inscribed by their authors, presented by family members -- and in some cases annotated by Milligan himself. To see these books -- as well as our selection of original Goon Show scripts -- click here.




 We've Joined The Club

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We are delighted to announce that Neil Pearson Rare Books Ltd. has been accepted as an Associate Member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association.