Israel: Poems on a Hebrew Theme (signed by Alan Sillitoe and Ralph Steadman (illustrator))


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First Edition, First Printing (Steam Press, London, 1981). Limited Edition of only 98 copies, this being number 31. Fine in a fine slipcase. Presents almost as new. Signed by both Sillitoe and Steadman and a beautiful limitation page in Volume 2. An absolutely beautiful work and copy. Quite rare; currently one of only three on the market, worldwide.  

Volume 1 showcases beautiful poems by Sillitoe on Jewish and Israeli life, culture, history, and the country. Volume 2 showcases 18 full-page black & white lithographic illustrations by Ralph Steadman of Israeli and Arab peoples, landscapes, street scenes, and more. Both volumes bound into an outer black cloth-covered cover that folds open with volume one opening from right to left and volume two left to right. Gilt spine lettering. In publisher's richly colored, solid blue slipcase. Each volume a Quarto, and a Quarto when closed as bound. Unpaginated.  

Alan Sillitoe (b. 1928 - d.  2010 ) was one of Britain’s best-known novelists and poets of the post WWII era, and famous as one of the 1950s “Angry Young Men.” A prolific writer, he penned 53 works including novels, short stories, plays, children's fiction, poetry, travel books, drama, memoirs and criticism. Sillitoe made his name with the novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1958), a vivid portrait of masculinity and Nottinghamshire working-class life. It was awarded the Author's Club First Novel Award and was made into a film starring Albert Finney in 1960, and adapted as a stage play in 1964. Saturday Night was followed by the collection of short stories The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1959), which is narrated by a rebellious and angry Borstal boy. It won the Hawthornden Prize and was filmed in 1961 starring Tom Courtenay.

Sillitoe was married to American Jewish poet Ruth Fainlight; and, although an atheist himself as an adult, he nonetheless developed a deep and abiding interest in the lore and history of Judaism in the 1960s, and he was a frequent visitor to Israel from the 1970s onwards. Despite not being Jewish, de believed very strongly in the right of Jews to return to Israel, once describing himself as a “non-Jewish Jew.”

Ralph Steadman is a renowned a British artist and prolific illustrator and cartoonist lauded for his political and social caricatures, cartoons and picture books--which at times can be provacative, and sometimes grotesque, featuring wonderful line drawings, sketches, richly colored renditions, spatters, and splotches of ink. This present work with Sillitoe is one of his more "serious" artistic partnerships. Steadman is one of our favorites at Grinning Cat Books.

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