Joseph Conrad's manuscript for his abandoned work, The Sisters, has sold at the top of Sotheby's second sale of items from the collection of the late Stanley J Seeger this afternoon.
Bidders gathered in London to compete over what is undoubtedly the finest collection of Joseph Conrad's work and memorabilia, with the manuscript finally selling at £60,000 ($102,667).
Every page on the manuscript is revised by the author, giving scholars a fascinating insight into his early working processes. Some of the pages contain editorial comments by renowned editor and writer Edward Garnett.
Conrad began The Sisters in 1895 but abandoned it in March 1896, with the decision largely due to the rigorous criticism from Edward Garnett. However, Conrad himself states he gave up the work "in despair of the being able to keep up the high pitch" in an accompanying letter.
Also selling was a first edition presentation copy of Conrad's The Inheritors, which is signed "To HG Wells, Affectionately, From Joseph Conrad, 1901". Such association copies signed by Conrad are extremely scarce.
He and Wells became good friends after Wells gave Conrad's An Outcast of the Islands a favourable review in 1896. The pair remained close for some years, and Conrad dedicated The Secret Agent to Wells in 1907.
Yet Wells states in his autobiography: "We never really 'got on' together. I was perhaps more unsympathetic and incomprehensible to Conrad than he was to me. I think he found me Philistine, stupid and intensely English."
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a wonderful selection of literary collectibles for sale.