Some Limericks.DOUGLAS, Norman
[Florence]: Privately Printed [Orioli]. 1928.
First edition issued to subscribers only. Limited to 110 copies of which this is number 110. Royal 8vo. 250x165mm. pp.98. Original yellow/gold rough canvas with title stamped in red on upper cover. Externally fine but with some cracking internally to the hinge. Loosely inserted are five sheets stapled at the top left corner, on which are printed the seventy-seven limericks which appear in the text. This is a handy reference tool allowing the scholar easy access to the primary texts as he or she studies Douglas's learned commentary. This is a particularly nice copy of the first limited edition in excellent condition.
Signed by Norman Douglas and also inscribed by him on the half-title:"To his friend Prof. G. Giglioli from Norman Douglas. 13th March 1934". Professor Guido Giglioli was the son of Enrico Hillyer Giglioli, the zoologist and anthroplogist. Guido was a doctor in Florence where Douglas lived for a number of years and where he befriended the bookseller and publisher Pino Orioli who published many of Douglas's works including this famous collection of obscene limericks with their mock-scholarly apparatus. He was also the publisher of the first edition of Lady Chatterley's Lover.
Some Limericks has long been a popular work and has appeared in a number of pirated editions. It was a brave decision of Douglas to publish it in 1928 although, of course, Douglas was not averse to taking risks and lived much of his life on a precarious knife-edge. Even today, some of these limericks are strong stuff. Utter filth in many cases. But here is a comparatively gentle one to warm you up:
There was a young student of John’s
Who wanted to bugger the swans,
But the loyal hall-porter
Said: “Pray take my daughter!
The birds are reserved for the dons”.