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Lot #602
O. Henry

O. Henry's semi-autobiographical "A Medley of Moods"

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Estimate: $2000+
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O. Henry's semi-autobiographical "A Medley of Moods"

Short story writer born William Sydney Porter (1862-1910) known for his use of the surprise ending. Lengthy AMS, titled and signed at the head, "A Medley of Moods, By Sydney Porter," 52 pages, 5.5 x 9.25, no date but circa 1898-1901. The story begins: "Alas! for the man and for the artist with the shifting point of perspective. Life shall be a confusion of ways to the one; the landscape shall rise up and confound the other. Take the case of Lorison. At one time he appeared to himself to be the feeblest of fools; at another he conceived that he followed ideals so fine that the world was not yet ready to accept them." In overall fine condition, with paper loss to the top left corner of the first page, and the final three pages torn in half and repaired with old tape; inner pages are all clean and fine. Accompanied by a custom-made blue cloth folder with quarter leather clamshell case.

Written while Porter was in prison on charges of embezzlement, "A Medley of Moods" is the story of a man who, like the author, feels that he has in some way forfeited his claim to integrity. The tale is set in New Orleans, where Porter spent several weeks en route to Honduras to flee from his trial. The main character is Lorison, an outcast who, though proven innocent of embezzling, is convinced that "from the moment I staked the first dollar of the firm's money I was a criminal." The story is an examination of Lorison's feelings of worthlessness, and his relationship with a girl he meets in the French Quarter, who confesses to her own guilty past. It first appeared in Ainslee's Magazine in December 1905, and it was included in the 1910 Whirligigs collection under the title 'Blind Man's Holiday.' A desirable, complete story by O. Henry which was clearly inspired by his own life.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: September
  • Dates: #535 - Ended September 12, 2018

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