London: Stephen Swift & Co. [from 1911], n.d. . First Edition. Decorative Cloth. A fine, bright Second Impression (per title-page verso) of Mansfield's first book, a collection of sketches of unusual people and events in a German pension. Crown 8vo (187 x 122mm): 251,,4,32["Books that compel" advertisements printed in red and black]pp. Publisher's dark green ribbed cloth with overall design in blind, spine and upper cover lettered in gilt. Wanting the rare dust jacket. Provenance: book plate of Jean Elizabeth Stone to front paste-down. According to a penciled note on front fly leaf, correspondence in the Jean Stone archive indicates that this copy alerted bibliographer B. J. Kirkpatrick to the existence of a second impression. Edges and first few leaves lightly spotted, end papers toned, else securely bound and clean throughout, a superlative example of a scarce item. Kirkpatrick A1a ("seldom appears in either booksellers' catalogues or in the auction rooms"). Fine. Item #BB2791
In 1908, age 20, Mansfield left her native New Zealand for London to eke out a living with her cello and her pen. Early the following year, she married George Bowden, but left him a few days later to join another man in a touring opera company. Soon after, Mansfield discovered she was pregnant. Her mother, who had sailed to London to investigate, whisked her daughter abroad and installed her in Bad Wörishofen, in Bavaria, at an exclusive spa specializing in "hosing down" its residents with ice water. After her mother returned to New Zealand, Kathleen moved into the much cheaper Villa Pension Müller, the setting for these short stories. Later that summer, she suffered a miscarriage and returned to London, where Bowden (who knew nothing about her pregnancy) put her in touch with A. R. Orage, editor of the weekly The New Age. Most of these stories appeared there intermittently throughout 1910 and into early 1911 (the first to appear was "The Child-Who-Was-Tired;" the final three were first published in this collection). Charles Granville, a friend of Orage who published "Books that compel" under the pseudonym Stephen Swift, brought out In a German Pension in December, 1911. The 500-copy first printing was followed by a second impression of probably 500 copies in January, 1912, and 500 more a few months later. Later that year "Stephen Swift," brought before a magistrate on a bigamy charge, fled to Algiers with the firm's funds. The three printings of In a German Pension have always been scarce, perhaps because many copies were destroyed when the publisher went bankrupt late in 1912. This second impression appears in the same binding as the first, with the same undated title page and with the same advertisements; the third impression has a reset title leaf with new publisher's address and different ads. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable mylar 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.).