Author: Byron Steel
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, 1928. 3rd printing.
Condition: Hardcover, no dust jacket. Slight fraying to spine and tanning to edges. Overall very good.
About the book:
A scarce, odd novel written by Francis Steegmuller, who used the pen name Byron Steel for this novel. Listed in R. Reginald’s bibliography of Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature.
A review from The Spectator dated 10 August 1928:
“This novel is an unbridled exercise in fantasy. Even the illusion of reality is not attempted. Mr. Steel, while choosing the present day for his period, writes as though it were as easy to fly across the world as to take a taxi from Waterloo to Piccadilly ; while he fills the Javanese jungle with living prototypes of the fabled unicorn. The hero is connected with an expedition that is hunting for Javanese beauties for the Paris ” market,” while the heroine, having lost him in France, rediscovers him after a long aeroplane journey with a highly romantic and enterprising pilot. The story comes near at times to vulgarity. But it is too riotously youthful and too frankly absurd to give real offence. As the work of a twenty-one-year-old writer, it promises better things to come.”
About the author (from Wikipedia):
Francis Steegmuller (July 3, 1906 – October 20, 1994) was an American biographer, translator and fiction writer, who was known chiefly as a Flaubert scholar.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Steegmuller graduated from Columbia University in 1927. He contributed numerous short stories and articles to The New Yorker and also wrote under the pseudonyms of Byron Steel and David Keith. He won two National Book Awards—one in 1971 for Arts and Letters for his biography of Jean Cocteau, another in 1981 for Translation for the first volume of Flaubert’s complete letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal. His first wife was Beatrice Stein, a painter who was a pupil and friend of Jacques Villon; she died in 1961. He married the writer Shirley Hazzard in 1963. His collected papers are held at two universities: at Yale University, the James Jackson Jarves (1818–1888) Papers and the Francis Steegmuller Collection for Jacques Villon; at Columbia University, the Francis Steegmuller Papers 1877–1979.