Toklas   Alice B.     - With a rare signed presentation inscription from the Author.
Cook Book
ILLUSTRATIONS BY SIR FRANCIS ROSE. (Printers device of a mermaid) London. MICHAEL JOSEPH
FIRST ENGLISH EDITION. 1954. 8vo. 235 x 157 mm. Illustrated cartographic front paste-down and end-paper. [1] Half title. On verso is a tipped-in book-review card from the publisher Messers. Michael Joseph Ltd. 1 blank with signed presentation inscription from the author in her typical shaky script - "For Jacques Ehrmann - The perhaps youngest of the admirers of Gertrude Stein to cross my path? With all good wishes, Alice Toklas". Frontispiece drawing of Toklas. Title page. Printers info. page. 1p Contents. [1] ix-xi A Word with Cook. [1] (2)3-280. (2)283-288 Index of Recipes. 2fep. [1] Illustrated cartographic back end-paper and paste-down. Cream coloured cloth boards. Spine with gilt and green cloth label. Distinctive D/J with large coloured drawing of Toklas, the back with fruit filled vine. The spine with 7mm chip to the top spreading to a 1/4 of the back, and 5mm bottom of spine chip. Very lightly age-browned & very slightly chipped at edges, but looks fresh. Text block very clean. Illustrated throughout by Francis Rose. Internally very good.
- - The person who received this inscribed copy from Toklas was Jacques Ehrmann (1931 - 1972). A French theorist and faculty member at Yale. He would have been 24 in 1955. What is unusual also is the publisher's book-review card tipped into the verso of the title page and opposite the signed presentation to Jacques Ehrmann. It states that the book was sold for 21 shillings (old UK money) and published on the 15th November 1954. One wonders whether this was a book given initially to Toklas from Michael Joseph and she signed it and gave it to Mr Ehrmann, or was it sent to Ehrmann by the publisher who in turn did an official review and then got it signed by Toklas. A mystery! Alice Babette Toklas was born in San Francisco, California into a middle-class Jewish family and attended schools in both San Francisco and Seattle. For a short time she also studied music at the University of Washington. She went to Paris and met Gertrude Stein an American writer, on September 8, 1907 on the first day that she arrived. Together they hosted a famous salon at 27 rue de Fleurus that attracted expatriate American writers, such as Ernest Hemingway, Paul Bowles, Thornton Wilder and Sherwood Anderson, and avant-garde painters, including Picasso, Matisse and Braque. Acting as Stein's confidante, lover, cook, secretary, muse, editor, critic, and general organizer, Toklas remained a background figure, chiefly living in the shadow of Stein, until Stein published her memoirs in 1933 under the teasing title The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. It became Stein's bestselling book. The two were a couple until Gertrude Stein's death in 1946. Toklas then published her own literary memoir, this 1954 book that mixed reminiscences and recipes. The most famous recipe therein (actually contributed by her friend Brion Gysin) is called "Haschich Fudge", a mixture of fruit, nuts, spices, and ‘canibus [sic] sativa’, or marijuana. Her name was later lent to the range of cannabis concoctions called Alice B. Toklas brownies. Some believe that the slang term toke, meaning to inhale marijuana, is derived from her last name. The cookbook has not been out of print since it was first published, and has been translated into numerous languages, most recently into Norwegian in 2007. A second cookbook followed in 1958 called 'Aromas and Flavors of Past and Present' [see item # 11335 below]. She also wrote articles for several magazines and newspapers including The New Republic and the New York Times, In 1963 she published her autobiography, 'What Is Remembered', which abruptly ends with Stein's death, leaving little doubt that Stein was the love of her lifetime. Her later years were very difficult because of poor health and financial problems, aggravated by the fact that Stein's heirs took the priceless paintings (some of them by Picasso) which had been left to her by Stein. Toklas also became a Roman Catholic convert in her old age as she had been told by a priest that in that way she may possibly meet Stein again in the afterlife. She died in poverty at the age of 89, and is buried next to Stein in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France; Toklas' name is engraved on the back of Stein's headstone. This very scarce famous cookery book is made very rare with Toklas's signed inscription.

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Modern category
ref number: 11098