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modern literature

Giants of modern literature leave their mark on PBA Galleries sale July 26

modern literature
Original pastel art by Charles Bukowski in a deluxe copy of his first volume of short stories with Black Sparrow Press. PBA Galleries image

SAN FRANCISCO – On Thursday, July 26, PBA Galleries will host a sale of over 550 lots of fine literature, mostly from the 20th century, with a few from earlier times, and a handful from our current millennium. Included are first editions of key works by the major authors of our time, most in the original dust jackets, many signed or inscribed. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

There is a large selection of works by Charles Bukowski, with a number of limited editions containing original oil paintings by the rogue poet (above). Also present are significant works or sizable collections by William S. Burroughs, Truman Capote, Willa Cather, Stephen Crane, John Fante, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Stephen King, Jack London, Flannery O’Connor, Michael Shaara, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Richard Wright, and Joseph Heller (below).

modern literature
Joseph Heller’s satirical novel, ‘Catch-22,’ a first edition signed and inscribed. PBA Galleries image

A first edition of Jack London’s best and most enduring work, The Call of the Wild (below), is a highlight of the sale. Published in 1903 shortly after its serialized appearance in the Saturday Evening Post, it contains illustrations by Philip R. Goodwin and Charles Livingston Bull and page decorations by Charles E. Hooper. Rarely is a copy found in such a beautifully preserved dust jacket (estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

modern literature
A first edition of ‘Call of the Wild,’ Jack London’s most enduring work, in a beautifully preserved dust jacket. PBA Galleries image

Richard Wright’s memoir of his youth in the South, Black Boy, originally was titled American Hunger and contained a second part about his young adult life in Chicago. When Black Boy was published without these chapters, Wright gave his eventual biographer, Constance Webb, permission to publish them. Offered in this sale is one of the rare first edition which was limited to 500 numbered copies published for private circulation (estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

A scarce deluxe copy of Bukowski’s first short story collection with Black Sparrow, South of No North: Stories of the Buried Life, contains original artwork by the author. This is No. 46 of 60 deluxe copies of the first edition, 50 of which were for sale. A colorful work of art in what appears to be pastels and signed “Buk” in large purple letters is tipped in following the title pages (estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

Featured in the sale is one of the most influential books ever written, Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Immensely popular when published in 1852, the antislavery novel helped fuel the abolitionist movement in the mid-19th century. This first printing is in the original gilt stamped and lettered cloth (estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

modern literature
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’ first edition, first printing. PBA Galleries image

Other lots featured in the sale include signed and inscribed first editions of Catch-22, Joseph Heller’s classic novel of World War II, a first edition inscribed and signed by Heller on the front free endpaper (estimate: $3,000-$5,000); a first edition of the antiwar novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, inscribed by Vonnegut on half title with his signature (estimate: $2,500-$3,500); Mickey Spillane’s first book, I, the Jury, with a long inscription by the author (estimate: $2,000-$3,000); and inscribed by Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream ($700-$1,000).

modern literature
‘Slaughterhouse Five,’ Kurt Vonnegut’s anti-war novel, inscribed by the author. PBA Galleries image

The sale will begin at 11 a.m. Pacific Time/2 p.m. Eastern. For more information, please contact PBA Galleries the galleries at 415-989-2665 or

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