Back Through the Rooke-ing Glass No. 35

Through the Rooke-ing Glass No. 35

Now that the blustery excitement of last week is very much behind us, it's time to showcase the works we've listed whilst our literary sanctuary at Rooke HQ was being battered by wind and rain (thank goodness no wheelie bins!). We've recently acquired countless works from the library of Paul Gallico, best known for the works 'The Poseidon Adventure' and 'The Snow Goose'. Gallico commenced his career as a sportswriter, before turning full-time to fiction writing, describing himself as a 'storyteller'. His interests clearly spanned a great deal of literature and non-fiction; we've come across many colourful works regarding the circus, magic, travel and nature, to name a few. However, as well as Gallico's library, we've also recently acquired a first U.K. edition of Jules Verne's 'Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea', as well as a first edition of George Orwell's '1984'. As for our most fun works...

The House of Lords UFO Debate

This scarce work, which appeared in 1971, is exactly what it sounds like from the title: the transcript of a real and acclaimed debate which occurred in the House of Lords regarding UFOs and whether or not they exist. With numerous arguments on both sides, the remarkable debate was the work of Brinsley Le Poer Trench, the 8th Earl of Clancarty. Editor of 'Flying Saucer Review', Trench believed that the centre of the Earth is hollow, there is no North Pole, that Adam, Eve and Noah originally lived on Mars, and that he himself could trace his lineage to thee year 63,000BC, when extra-terrestrials had landed on our planet in spaceships. An outlandish character to say the least, this is a fascinating transcript regarding the proceedings during one of the most unusual debates to have taken place in the House of Lords.

Good Soups

A trustworthy and comforting cookbook, this is a first edition by Ambrose Heath, and contains some two hundred and fifty recipes, including for sweet soups, meat soups, fish soups, consommé, and curious soups. Interestingly, the paper boards and the title page for this delightful cookery work were designed by Edward Bawden, best known for his designs for tile mosaics in the London Underground. It was written by food writer Ambrose Heath, best known for his works related to food rationing and the cooking of vegetables whilst the country was facing meat shortages. This is a lovely example of pre-Second World War cuisine, advocating for one of our nation's favourite and most trusted dishes, the soup.

Theatrical and Circus Life

From the library of Paul Gallico as mentioned above, this is a scarce first edition study relating to life at the circus, divulging secrets of the stage and the sawdust arena. It simultaneously explores the history of the theatre from Shakespeare's times. Published in 1882, this is one of our earlier works relating to the circus, and it is richly illustrated with colour plates and in-text engravings depicting the unusual and exciting characters of a nineteenth century circus. Gallico's interest in the circus went beyond his personal interest, and numerous works by Gallico either reference or even revolve around the circus, such as 'Love, Let Me Not Hunger' and 'The Day Jean-Pierre Joined the Circus'. 

Two Victorian Children's Works relating to Cats Behaving Strangely

Finally, we also enjoyed drawing links between author of juvenile adventure fiction R. M. Ballantyne's 'The Robber Kitten', which was published in 1896, and James Anthony Froude's 'The Cat's Pilgrimage', which appeared in 1870. In 'The Robber Kitten', we see a cheeky pussy cat decide to become a robber dwelling in the woods; and our protagonist in 'The Cat's Pilgrimage' encounters all manner of animals around her and considers their lifestyles, even weighing up vegetarianism. These are both illustrated and uncommon works, and certainly brought us a smile.

And finally, our header this week comes from a beautiful two volume biography of Louis XI of France by Pierre Champion in the original French language.