Seven Tales and Alexander
London: The Scholartis Press, 1929. From the Bart Auerbach Collection. 8vo. Original cloth-backed boards. Slight wear at fore-corners, jacket slightly frayed and soiled. Item #409145
First edition, limited to 1000 copies (of which this is one of 950 for sale). The dedication copy, inscribed by Bates beneath the printed dedication ("To Constance Garnett"): "who by her poetic genius began to influence my life before I lived; to which genius and to her unfailing friendship no less, this book is a tribute. October, 1929. H. E. Bates." From the Garnett family library, with the book label of David Garnett, Edward and Constance's son) .
Edward and Constance Garnett were among Bates' closest literary friends. Edward Garnett "discovered" Bates while a reader and editor for Jonathan Cape - Bates's first book, ' The Two Sisters ' , was published by the firm in 1926 - and remained the author's literary mentor. "Bates had become a frequent visitor to The Cearne [the Garnett home in Kent], which he found enchanting for its situation and for the rapport he developed with Constance - to him a legendary figure for her Russian translations, especially of his idol Chekhov. This admiration was accompanied by an affection for the 'frail, white haired, short sighted' woman whose passion for flower gardening he shared. His regard for the range of her literary knowledge and the sureness of her judgment was such that if Constance, he wrote, "was sometimes moved to praise a story of mine I was not merely greatly flattered; I always, unhesitatingly, took it for gospel" - George Jefferson, 'Edward Garnett: a Life in Literature ' (1982), pp. 236-37. See also H. E. Bates's ' Edward Garnett' (1950) and his memoirs 'Blossoming World' (1971) for accounts of his close relationship with the Garnetts. (BA).