Well, they have all been signed by their authors. A book presents such a complex relationship between the author and reader, which has been documented and investigated and debated by hosts of literary critics over the decades and centuries. This is all made more complicated and fun when the author’s own handwriting appears on the title page – how strange to think that the author has held the book before me! Well, not so strange for A Very Great Profession by Nicola Beauman, and the biography of Judi Dench, for I was present on both those occasions, but for the other three…
When We Were Very Young, I must admit, was not written by Christopher Milne – one of these days I hope to have an AA Milne signature, but alas, not yet – but he has a very close association with the lead character. This copy was sold to me by a man named Peter Guppy, who lived in my old village and did a small business in books, but since he sold it to me for £2, it was really more of a gift. Dorothy Whipple’s The Priory was bought at the Bookbarn in Somerset (or Heaven on Earth, as it may be re-labelled), but it was not until I got home that I realised it was signed. Very exciting! EM Delafield’s novel set me back the most, but as one of my favourite authors, I found the offer irresistible.
How about you? Any signed copies? It’s easy enough to find signed modern novels and biographies, Waterstones seems to stock little else, but what about older authors and treasured novels?