Monday, 7 January 2008

John Banville - a bibliography

My previous posting highlights Banville's recent crime fiction novels, written as Benjamin Black. However, he is best known for his literary fiction, and a brief bibliography linked to current first edition prices is given below.

Banville was born in Wexford in 1945, and was educated at a Christian Brothers' school and St Peter's College in Wexford. His first book, Long Lankin (a collection of short stories), was published in 1970. It was followed by the novels Nightspawn (1971) and Birchwood (1973). Banville's fictional portrait of the 15th-century Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1976) won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction) and was the first in a series of books exploring the lives of eminent scientists and scientific ideas. The second novel in the series was about the 16th-century German astronomer Kepler (1981) and won the Guardian Fiction Prize. The Newton Letter: An Interlude (1982), is the story of an academic writing a book about the mathematician Sir Isaac Newton. It was adapted as a film by Channel 4 Television.

Mefisto (1986), explores the world of numbers in a reworking of Dr Faustus. The Book of Evidence (1989), which won the Guinness Peat Aviation Book Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction, Ghosts (1993) and Athena (1995) form a loose trilogy of novels narrated by Freddie Montgomery, a convicted murderer.

The central character of Banville's 1997 novel, The Untouchable, Victor Maskell, is based on the art historian and spy Anthony Blunt. Eclipse (2000) is narrated by Alexander Cleave, an actor who has withdrawn to the house where he spent his childhood. Shroud (2002), continues the tale begun in Eclipse. Prague Pictures: Portrait of a City (2003), is a personal evocation of the city. The Sea (2005) won the 2005 Man Booker Prize. In The Sea an elderly art historian loses his wife to cancer and feels compelled to revisit the seaside villa where he spent childhood holidays.

Novels and Short Stories

Long Lankin (Secker & Warburg, 1970)
Nightspawn (Secker & Warburg, 1971)
Birchwood (Secker & Warburg, 1971)
Dr Copernicus (Secker & Warburg, 1976)
Kepler (Secker & Warburg, 1981)
The Newton Letter; an Interlude (Secker & Warburg, 1982)
Mefisto (Secker & Warburg, 1986)
The Book of Evidence (Secker & Warburg, 1989)
Ghosts (Secker & Warburg, 1993)
Athena (Secker & Warburg, 1993)
The Untouchable (Picador, 1997)
Eclipse (Picador, 2000)
Shroud (Picador, 2002)
Prague Pictures:Portrait of a City (Bloomsbury, 2003)
The Sea (Picador, 2005)

The Infinities (Picador, 2009). In addition, there was a special signed and limited First Edition published by the London Review Bookshop in association with Picador. The edition comprises 75 copies of which 35 have been quarter-bound in Beech Nut cloth numbered 1 to 35 (plus 3 hors commerce) and 25 quarter bound in Harmatan Toffee Beige leather numbered i to xxv (plus 1 hors commerce). The Blue Willow pattered boards were designed at the Rampant Lions Press. 10 copies have been fully bound in the same Harmatan leather, lettered a to j (plus 1 hors commerce). All copies have blue and white head and tail bands and are housed in a slipcase. The books were bound under the direction of Patrick Roe at the Fine Book Bindery, Wellingborough, Northants.

As Benjamin Black

Christine Falls (Picador, 2006)
The Silver Swan (Pacador, 2007)
The Lemur (Picador, 2008)
Elegy for April (Picador, 2010)

Limited editions:

1) Ghosts (1993) A correspondent has written to say that there was a special limited edition of 'Ghosts' produced by Kenny's of Galway. It was Limited to 50 copies - signed,numbered, slipcased quarter bound Leather over marbled boards with gilded raised bands, twin gilded leather title labels, top edge gilt. Alas, I have never seen a copy - I will watch out, however.

2) Eclipse: Bridgewater Press, London (2000), signed limited edition of 138 copies. The first twelve were in quarter library calf numbered I - XII, 26 lettered A - Z and the remainder (signed and numbered 1 - 100) in quartered cloth and marbled boards.

3) Shroud: Joe McCann, Oxford (2002). Limited issue of 65 numbered copies for sale published by Joe McCann of a total edition of eighty copies. Issued bound in full cloth with a printed label on the front board and spine and signed by Banville on the limitation page. Issued without dustjacket.

4) The Sea: Joe McCann, Oxford (2005). There is a limited state consisting of 56 copies signed by the author, of which only the first 48 were for sale. This was put together by Joe McCann, Oxford, from the Picador first edition sheets (of which there were about 3000 copies published). The limited edition is blue cloth with beige paper labels and no jacket.

5) First Light: Bridgewater Press, London (2006), signed limited edition of 138 copies. The first 12 numbered I - XII, 26 lettered A - Z and the remainder numbered 1 - 100. The first novel of a chapter in progress.

Other works:

The Broken Jug (Gallery Press, 1987) Limited to 240 copies.

The Ark (Gallery Press, 1996) 260 signed by the author and the illustrator, 200 were for sale. Bound by hand at Antiquarian Bookcrafts in Dublin. Oblong 4to., original quarter blue cloth lettered in gilt, with gilt block design by the artist on the upper cover. In matching slipcase. Loughcrew, The Gallery Press for The Ark, Dublin. 1996.

God's Gift (Gallery Press, 2000)

Love in the Wars (Gallery Press, 2005)

Conversation in the Mountains - a play for radio (Gallery Press, 2008). 400 copies numbered and signed by the author. 350 copies only for sale. Printed on Rives Artist and hardbound in linen with blind embossed title and a Pergamenata wraparound.

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