London: Jonathan Cape. . First Edition, First Impression, Special Issue. Octavo, original black cloth designed and lettered in gold. Top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. The Special Limited Edition of just 12 Copies printed for the Author. This copy is inscribed by the author to his brother: "Colin Rucker Eddison / with my love / ERE/ 1st Oct. 1926. / Twelve Copies of this book have / been printed for me on hand-made / paper, of which this is No. 11. / E. R. Eddison". THE DEDICATION COPY: the book bears the printed dedication "To my brother Colin I dedicate this book". Slight spine lean, some spotting of cloth on front cover, cloth slightly bubbled on back cover; a bright, attractive copy in the original pictorial dust jacket which shows light fading on the spine panel, principally on the red decorations. The jacket is price-clipped; comparison with another copy we have previously handled (Copy No 8, inscribed to the Illustrator, Keith Henderson) shows that the (partial) jacket included with that copy was also price-clipped, presumably as the 12 copies printed on hand-made paper were for private presentation and not for sale. Item #312212
¶ Keith Henderson's copy of STYRBIORN was inscribed as such: 'To my friend, Keith Henderson. Without whom "Styrbiorn" would never have seen the light. Eric. 1st. Oct. 1926.' Sir Henry Newbolt's copy (No. 6 of the 12) was inscribed by Eddison "To Sir Henry Newbolt. You have my first book / Here's another. / You liked the Worm: - Please like his brother. ERE 1/X/26". It appears likely that all copies of the Special Edition were inscribed to friends and family on October 1st, 1926.
E.R. Eddison (1882-1945) was a civil servant, Norse scholar and author of heroic fantasy. And it is for his fantasy works that he will be remembered. His best-known work is THE WORM OUROBOROS, a heroic high fantasy novel first published in 1922. C.S. Lewis described The Worm Ouroboros [in a Jacobean pastiche] as ‘the most noble and ioyous book I have read these ten yeres’, and J.R.R. Tolkien called Eddison, ‘the greatest and most convincing writer of ‘invented worlds’ that I have read’.
STYRBIORN THE STRONG is a modern re-imagining of a Norse saga, inspired by the few tantalizing glimpses of this heroic character in the saga literature. In 1926, Eddison’s friend, Arthur Ransome (author of Swallows and Amazons) wrote, ‘In Styrbiorn he is following to its source one of the main streams of his inspiration…The new book of Eddison’s, wholly different in conception [from The Worm Ouroboros] but with the same Scandinavian roots, will weave a similar spell over those whose hearts are in the north, as his is’.