Lot 10
  • 10

Faulkner, William

40,000 - 60,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • ink and paper
Light in August. New York: Harrison Smith & Robert Haas, 1932 

8vo. Publisher's textured beige cloth, stamped in blue and orange; tiny hole to front gutter. Original Arthur Hawkins designed pictorial dust-jacket  slightly rubbed along edges, some color loss from rubbing at spine ends,  front and rear panel and flaps of original publisher’s glassine jacket present. In a quarter-morocco slipcase.


From the collection of Louis Daniel Brodsky (#293, Faulkner the Bibiliography, Volume 1), who acquired it from Ramey’s descendants.


Petersen A13a

Catalogue Note

A wonderfully evocative presentation copy of the first edition, inscribed on the front endpaper: "For Myrtle Ramey, / Oxford, Miss. 30 [March?] 1934."

Faulkner met Myrtle Ramey in 1906, when he skipped a year in school and joined the third grade. Blotner ascribes powerful feelings of affection on the part of the youthful novelist toward Miss Ramey. “He made a few new friends in the third grade,” Blotner relates. “One was Myrtle Ramey, the daughter of Lex Ramey, who hunted with Murry Faulkner (sic) ... a delicate child, her physician would let her attend school only for part of the morning. Billy Falkner became a particular friend of hers, demonstrating friendliness and sympathy for those who were ill which he was to display many times later in his life.” He would remain lifelong friends with the fragile but intelligent girl, with whom he spent countless hours sharing favorite authors and titles. When he began to publish, Faulkner counted her among the few friends and family to whom he inscribed copies of his books. In 1924, she received along with her copy of The Marble Faun an autographed sheath of poems, presumably an early permutation of the collection. In 1926, Myrtle married, but Faulkner insisted on maintaining her maiden name for the inscription of Soldier’s Pay which came out that year, as well as for As I Lay Dying in 1931 and for this copy of Light in August in 1932. He finally broke this rule in 1935, inscribing his dear friend’s copy to “Myrtle Demarest.” 

If Blotner nowhere documents that Faulkner courted Miss Ramey, he leaves little doubt that Myrtle was one of the select Oxford girls on whom the future Nobel Laureate dress-rehearsed his evolving masculine self. Presentation copies of Faulkner’s four big books with such genuinely personal association meaning are rare on the market.