Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #94 begins on 30 Sep 2021

US Auction #9 begins on 30 Oct 2021

‘SARBAN’ [John William WALL (1910-1989)]

The Dollmaker and other tales of the uncanny.

'Sarban' : "a subtle, literate teller of tales, conscious of the darker and less acceptable implications that underlie much popular literature" (The Encyclopedia of Fantasy).

Published: Peter Davies, London, [1953]

Edition: Uncorrected proof

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‘SARBAN’ [John William WALL (1910-1989)]

The Dollmaker and other tales of the uncanny. London: Peter Davies, [1953]. Octavo (7 ¼ x 4 7/8in; 184 x 124mm). Pp. [i-vi; 1]-3-247 + a small format copy typescript ‘blurb’ laid down onto the first page. (Slits to the outer margins of the first two leaves with no loss) Original wrappers, the upper cove with applied ‘Uncorrected Proof’ label from the publisher (Slits to the upper cover, some soiling and creasing).

Uncorrected proof of the “subtle masterpiece of a mature and thoughtful thinker and stylist” (Mark Valentine)

‘Sarban’s’ “ third and last published book, The Doll Maker, which was published with two other stories, tells of a young woman staying on at her old boarding school, who befriends and is soon entranced by a mysterious neighbour. The quiet and opaline wonder of an English winter; the snug charm of an old country house; the appealing freshness of a young, gentle heroine; hints of sinister mystery, of sorcery from far lands and ancient sources; an engagingly enigmatic and magnetic Svengali of a villain; the book has more than enough to satisfy the longings of any savant of the fireside tale. Sarban clearly absorbed himself deeply in the detail of his story, deliberating each nuance of description, carefully placing each progression of the plot: we see a writer contented in the company of the characters he has created, watching them carefully; a craftsman ever vigilant to sustain the tone and the tension of what he has wrought. Though more subdued in theme than The Sound of His Horn, this book is still the subtle masterpiece of a mature and thoughtful thinker and stylist. These very qualities, however, are those which might cause it to be overlooked in the lee of the vivid and extravagant visions of the earlier book: but I am one of those who consider it his finest work.” (Mark Valentine “Sarban: An Initiation into the Work of a Weird Master John Wall...Diplomat-Turned-Writer”)

  • Binding Condition: Acceptable
  • Overall Condition: Acceptable
  • Size: 7 ¼ x 4 7/8in; 184 x 124mm
  • Sold By: Shadowrock Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Adam Langlands
  • Country: United States
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 001-860-248-1547
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Paypal, US$ checks and wire transfers, major credit cards through paypal
  • Trade Associations: AA Approved


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