Essay Writer



London: Faber, 1965

8vo, pp. 186. Original blue boards, lettered in gilt on spine. Preliminaries age-toned and spotted, spine ends a little rubbed and worn, otherwise a near fine copy in a good only, price-clipped dustwrapper, inner and outer tape reinforcements to spine and spine ends, heavily rubbed and worn with some loss to corners.

First edition, sixth impression, INSCRIBED IN 1968 TO TONY HANCOCK BY TED NOFFS, FOUNDER OF THE WAYSIDE CHAPEL, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: 'To my good friend Tony Hancock from Ted Noffs 1968.'

In 1968, his life and career chasing each other ever downwards, Tony Hancock travelled to Australia to make a television series he hoped would rescue both. But the show was doomed from the start: poor scripts and the star's rampant alcoholism combined to catastrophic effect and, with only three of the projected eight episodes completed, Hancock killed himself with an overdose of barbiturates.

Shortly after his arrival in Australia Hancock had been introduced to Ted Noffs, a Methodist minister and founder of the Wayside Chapel, where traditional church services combined with noisy debates and hands-on pastoral care to provide support to the area's drug addicts, prostitutes and a startling assortment of counterculture radicals. Hancock was intrigued by Noffs' unflinching brand of Christianity-in-action, attended many public meetings held at the chapel, and became friendly with Noffs himself, as this gift shows. The book itself, a translation by Leif Sjöberg and W.H. Auden of a collection of reflective writings found in the private papers of Dag Hammarskjöld after his death, suggests that both men saw Hancock more as troubled supplicant than dispassionate onlooker.

A unique item, and a poignant association. We can find no record of any other book inscribed to Tony Hancock having been offered for public sale.



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