([ca. 1935]). 254 x 204 mm. (10 x 8"). 29 leaves (printed on rectos only).

Unbound, with two holes punched on inner margin. HAND-CORRECTED AND SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR in ink; with another two leaves of typescript titled "Mr. Chesterton Indulges in Autobiography" with a few corrections in pencil and stamped "30 June 1930" in purple ink, a typed description of various Chesterton items (including the present work) from the Dodd, Mead & Co. archives with their envelope, and a note on stationery from Serendipity Books dated 1 April 1990, with envelope. First page slightly soiled and with a few small chips along edges, paper softly toned due to lesser quality, a faint crease down the middle of the typescript, but overall in excellent condition (especially for this kind of material), very clean throughout.

This typescript contains one of Chesterton's final works of fiction, hand-corrected and signed by the author. Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was a leading intellectual light in turn-of-the-century England, delighting in public disputes with George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, and Bertrand Russell. Though best known today for his Father Brown mysteries, he was also an influential literary and art critic, and a prolific essayist. The present work is a typescript for one of eight short stories included in another of his mystery series, "The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond," in which the eponymous character presents a self-contradictory riddle, followed by a story explaining the truth behind it. In "Pond the Pantaloon," Mr. Pond speaks of a red pencil or, rather, something that "resembled a red pencil" that makes black marks--a distinction, as we learn, that is key to unravelling the mystery. The big reveal is very similar to that in Poe's short tale "The Purloined Letter," in which an important document is cleverly hidden in plain sight; in the present case, a wooden box of documents is disguised by searing patterns into it with a hot poker (the "red pencil"), thereby changing its appearance to elude identification. This story was first printed in the magazine “The Storyteller,” and appeared in book form with the other seven "Paradoxes" in 1937. This kind of material is not often encountered on the market.

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