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 April

The Missing Hancocks: Recording This Month

A little over a year ago we issued our first catalogue, Literature, Photography and the Performing Arts, in which we offered for sale a number of original working scripts for Hancock's Half Hour, written by the legendary comedy-writing partnership of Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. The 1950s radio show was -- and still is -- a masterpiece, and made stars of almost everyone involved. Many of the Hancock scripts we offered in our catalogue were for 'lost' episodes: no recording of them has survived, and they have been not been heard since their original transmission nearly sixty years ago.

hancockteamNow, five of these episodes will be heard again in November, when BBC Radio 4 broadcasts The Missing Hancocks. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC Radio Theatre, co-produced by your humble proprietor, and with Kevin McNally as the lad 'imself, the series will form part of the BBC's celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of Galton and Simpson's groundbreaking, sidesplitting comic collaboration. Recordings will take place on Tuesday, April 15th and Tuesday, April 22nd at the BBC Comedy Theatre,  Broadcasting House, London. Tickets are (or possibly were) available here.


Olympia Book Fair

The London International Antiquarian Book Fair, one of the biggest events of its kind in the world, takes place at Olympia on Thurs.- Sat. 22 - 24 May this year, and Neil Pearson Rare Books will be exhibiting for the first time. You can visit the Fair's website here. We have already uploaded to the site details of some of the material we will be bringing to the Fair, and will be adding to it over the coming weeks. For a preview, click here.

New Arrivals

And Talking Of Olympia....

This month we offer a wide selection of titles from the Olympia Press, Maurice Girodias's English-language Paris imprint of the 1950s, which did so much to break down the doors of literary censorship once and for all. Publishing a heady mixture of low sleaze and high art, for more than a decade Olympia tormented the authorities in France, and Customs officials everywhere. It provided a home for work of high literary merit which because of its subject matter could not find a publisher anywhere else: Burroughs, Beckett, Henry Miller and J.P. Donleavy all had work published by Olympia and, crowningly, the first edition of Lolita appeared there in 1955. But these literary heavyweights had to share a home with the more lubricious end of the market: Olympia also published titles like White Thighs, Bottoms Up and There's A Whip In My Valise, flagrantly pornographic offerings written to order by a roster of bookish but broke young expatriates, among them Christopher Logue, Austryn Wainhouse and Alexander Trocchi. The two sides of Olympia's output were unhappy bedfellows, and endless litigation combined with Girodias's own profligacy to bring the company crashing down in 1965, coffers empty, but mission accomplished.

Among the many Olympia title we now have in stock are (click on author's name for more information):

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-- NABOKOV, Vladimir. Lolita. 2 vols., 1955. First edition.





1857 150px-- TROCCHI, Alexander. Young Adam. 1954. First edition, published inder the name 'Frances Lengel'. The very scarce first issue of the book which would later make Trocchi's name, this version contains the sexually explicit material added by Trocchi on Girodias's insistence which was removed from later editions. We also offer Trocchi's other, equally scarce 'Lengel' titles, Helen And Desire and The Carnal Days Of Helen Seferis.

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-- THE TRAVELLER'S COMPANION. A wide selection from Olympia's Traveller's Companion series, many in fine, unread condition. Individual titles will be added to the website over the coming weeks. Wants lists are welcome.





 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.