London: William Heinemann, 1944. W. Somerset Maugham's holograph ink sketch showing his jacket design concept for the American edition of his greatest novel, "The Razor's Edge," executed in holograph black ink on a blank Western Union telegram form. Remarkably, the design, a somewhat more elaborate version of the stark UK jacket, was not only considered by the publisher but followed pretty much to the letter. A striking piece of ephemera demonstrating that the author's intentions for the book were honored from the text to the jacket itself, including his signature Moroccan symbol, used on nearly all his books, including reprints; and an interesting example of a major author's notion of self-representation.
In his somewhat autobiographical book, "The Summing Up," Maugham wrote of the symbol: "I think my father had a romantic mind. He took it into his head to build a house to live in during the summer. He bought a piece of land on the top of a hill at Suresnes. The view was splendid over the plain, and in the distance was Paris. There was a road down to the river and by the river lay a little village. It was to be like a villa on the Bosphrous and on the top flow it was surrounded by loggias. I used to go down with him every Sunday by the Seine on a bateaumouche to see how it was getting on. When the roof was on, my father began to finish it by buying a pair of antique fire irons. He ordered a great quantity of glass on which he had engraved a sign against the Evil Eye which he had found in Morocco and which the reader may see on the cover of this book. It was a white house and the shutters were painted red. The garden was laid out. The rooms were furnished and then my father died."
Near Fine, 6 x 8.25 inches.