London: Jonathan Cape [through 1947], 1930. Hardcover. First Editions, early and later printings, of the series that "transformed the genre of the children’s novel." (Literary Encyclopedia) Twelve tall, thick octavo volumes complete, uniformly bound in publisher's dark green cloth, gilt titles to spines and upper covers, end paper maps and charts, variously printed in black, green, red, and blue, with numerous illustrations by the author. Minor tanning and dusting to page edges, light rubbing to jackets, else clean throughout with strong bindings. Correct wraparound dust jackets in excellent condition (several with minor restoration, very skillfully done, to edges, not involving lettering or design). List of previous titles in the series to back panels neatly ticked—erased if in pencil but two in pen. Swallows and Amazons (fifteenth impression): price-clipped jacket. Swallowdale (fourteenth impression): jacket priced 8s / 6d. Peter Duck (fifteenth impression): jacket printed on verso of L. M. Nesbitt, Desert Forest (Cape), priced 8s / 6d. Winter Holiday (eighth impression): early owner's inscription to fly leaf, jacket priced 8s / 6d. Coot Club (tenth impression): jacket price-clipped with light vertical crease to spine panel. Pigeon Post (tenth impression): jacket printed on verso of Maurice Asley, Oliver Cromwell: The Conservative Dictator (Cape), priced 8s / 6d. We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea (eleventh impression): jacket priced 8s / 6d. Secret Water (seventh impression): jacket priced 8s / 6d. The Big Six (fourth impression): jacket priced 8s / 6d. Missee Lee (second impression): previous owner's neat name to fly leaf, jacket priced 8s / 6d. The Picts and the Martyrs (first impression): jacket priced 8s / 6d. Great Northern? (first impression): jacket priced 9s. A superb set, and rare so well-preserved. Hammond A25d, A26a, A27a, A28a, A29a, A30a, A31a, A32a, A33a, A34a, A35a, and A36a. Item #BB1828
The Swallows and Amazons series was published at the rate of almost one volume a year–eleven in the UK in the thirteen years from 1930 to 1943–then, after a gap of four years, the last in the series, Great Northern?, in 1947. (A few fragments of a planned thirteenth novel were found among Ransome’s papers and published posthumously in 1988 with the editor’s title, Coots in the North.) Ransome's series "is among the first writing for children to present adventure plots that are believable, with the stories delivered by a narrator who treats readers as peers. In this they have been acclaimed as quintessentially English and as such have achieved cross-over into adult readership as an idyll of a now lost rural England in the inter-war years. On the fly-leaf of the first edition of Swallows and Amazons, Ransome describes it as 'a book about children for children and their parents, guardians, cousins and aunts'. They were intended as much for adults as for children. Since the first volume was published in 1930 (UK) and 1931 (U.S.A.), the books have never been out of print in the UK or the USA." (Literary Encyclopedia) The Ruskin Museum, founded by Ransome’s mentor W. G. Collingwood, provides a permanent Ransome exhibit, commemorating the author as “the man who changed children’s literature forever." N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, with dust jackets carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).