A rare opportunity to obtain correspondence from critically acclaimed author Cormac McCarthy presents itself in Heritage Auctions' October 8 Rare Books Signature Auction in Beverly Hills.
Heritage has consigned a remarkable archive of letters between McCarthy (b. 1933) and fellow Tennessee writer John Fergus Ryan (1930-2003), who kept copies of his own letters as well as the originals from McCathy, sensing he was writing to a famous author of the future.
With the collection valued at $50,000+, the No Country for Old Men author is one of the most valuable modern writers. A typewriter used by the author made $254,500 at Christie's in 2009 - it was estimated to sell for $15,000-20,000.
The archive spans 1976-1986, with Ryan first contacting McCarthy to congratulate him on his Guggenheim Fellowship. The two strike up conversation throughout the remainder, writing candidly of their personal and professional lives.
"I think the country is running out of outlets for writers. If the magazines stop publishing fiction, as they just about have, can the book publishers be far behind?" McCarthy writes of his concerns for the future of publishing.
"There is no reason to assume that literature - and almost any definition will do here - will continue to exist. So-called serious fiction is rapidly going the way of modern poetry. All you have to do is read the gobbledygook that is published in the quarterlies. As the markets dry up only the lunatic fringe will continue in the business."
With 11 original handwritten signed letters from McCarthy, as well as six typed autograph letters, the collection is a superb piece for literary and autograph collectors alike. However, as Heritage states, it would also provide a superb resource for scholars of McCarthy's work, or potential biographers.
Also starring in the sale is the Krown and Spellman Collection of early printed books, which is highlighted by a first edition, large paper copy of Francis Barlow's Aesop's Fables, first printed in 1666. It is expected to sell for $8,000+.
"The number and diversity of the private collections in this auction provide a rare opportunity to the collectors of every persuasion and budget," said James Gannon, director of rare books at Heritage.
"These collections present a particularly excellent gathering of antiquarian books and early printed works."
See our superb selection of rare books for sale at Paul Fraser Collectibles.