[to Reggie & Maisie Gibbon] London: Eveleigh Nash, 1912. 2 pp undated ads. Original dark blue cloth.
First Edition of this autobiographical work, which initially appeared serially in Ford Madox Ford's newly-founded "English Review."~What is remarkable about Conrad's reminiscences is how clearly he employed fictional techniques worked out with Ford,... wherein the narrative intensity increases as the story develops. To achieve that, Conrad used a constantly interrupted narrative as a way of unsettling conventional sequences and, thereby, established anticipation of the next episode. Conrad needed a method that permitted intimacy, up to a certain point, and then withdrawal, when he had revealed enough... so his reminiscences would be matters of attack and retreat. [Karl]~SOME REMINISCENCES is generally believed to have slightly preceded the American edition -- which, as with subsequent English editions, was titled A PERSONAL RECORD. Wise claimed that only 1,000 copies were printed (apparently including some bound by Bell as the colonial issue), but Nash records have not survived to substantiate this.~This copy is in fine, bright condition (discreet bookplate of the remarkable Conrad collector Stanley J. Seeger). Cagle A15b.1. Housed in a morocco-backed slipcase with inner chemise.~This is an inscribed presentation copy from Conrad, with the following in his hand on the front free endpaper: "To | Maisie and Reggie | from their affectionate | J.C. | 1912". Perceval "Reggie" Gibbon (1879-1926) was, like Conrad, a former seaman who had become a writer; both used J.B. Pinker as an agent, which may be how they first met. When Conrad suffered his nervous breakdown in early 1910 (as he was completing UNDER WESTERN EYES), it was Gibbon who came to the rescue: Jessie Conrad later wrote of those months, "If it had not been for Perceval Gibbon who came often and always, it seemed, in the nick of time, I feel sure I would not have held out" [quoted in Karl p. 680]. Gibbon dedicated his Margaret Harding to the Conrads in 1911, and a few years later Conrad would reciprocate by dedicating VICTORY to Gibbon and his wife Maisie. Conrad and "Reggie" had a rather intense flurry of correspondence during the 'Teens, but most of it was lost during the Great War so not a lot is known about their friendship. At one point the two men considered collaborating on a play based on both men's early seafaring experiences in Africa (as in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness"). Toward the end of the war, Gibbon was a war correspondent with the Italian Army for The New York Times, and after the war he became a major in the British Royal Marines. As veteran Conrad collectors know, the most intimate inscriptions Conrad wrote were those he signed merely "J.C." Item #12673