Details
JULIAN BARNES (b.1946)
Flauberts Parrot. London: Jonathan Cape, 1984.
'If a writer can be grateful to a book he or she has written [...] then I am grateful to [Flaubert's Parrot]': a heavily annotated first edition of Barnes’s third novel, in which fiction and fact intertwine in the pursuit of a stuffed parrot. Signed by the author on the title page and annotated across 68 pages with over 2000 words in black, blue, and red ink with personal reflections on the novel’s publication and success, as well as notes on his research into Flaubert’s life and work, and occasional emendations/modernisations to the text. Barnes has re-read the novel attentively, providing insights into how he constructs characters ('physical characteristics normally come to me after moral signifcance') and into his editing process: 'But reading it over, it felt corny, sentimental [...] I had to thin it, lighten it, make it less thumping'. He also writes in a critical mode, admitting to various mistakes in the book ('There are quite a few factual errors in F's P'), suggesting that a particular sentence is 'a bit too cute', and beside an aphorism about the difference between a reader and a writer, claiming: 'No, it's more complicated than this'. A few annotations refer to bibliographic features such as the novel’s wrap-around band which celebrates its appearance on the Booker Prize Shortlist, as well as an untrimmed corner which ‘used to be much commoner than it is nowadays’.

Octavo. Original black cloth, spine lettered in gilt, pictorial dust jacket featuring image of David Hockney's Félicité Sleeping with Parrot, with original Booker Prize Shortlist wrap-around band (band faded at spine).
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