FERMOR, Patrick Leigh. Mani. London, Murray and the Book Society, .
8vo. Original red boards, lettered in gilt, front cover with gilt-stamped decoration, pictorial dust jacket (not price-clipped); pp. xiii, , 320, numerous photo plates, 1 map (in pagination); near-fine.
First edition, the Book Society issue. Patrick Leigh Fermor had originally conceived a one-volume work about Greece, but his publisher Jock Murray persuaded him that it should be divided into two volumes, and that the first should cover the southern Peloponnese (Murray was doubtless also concerned that this would be the only way to get the book out of Fermor, who was not only an inveterate rewriter but particularly susceptible to distraction). After some four years of work on Mani, Fermor finished correcting the proofs in the summer of 1958, and the book was published at the end of the year, when its 'difficult gestation was rewarded with enthusiastic reviews. The Times Literary Supplement recognised the author as a "literary trailblazer" in a region of Greece that few people knew anything about. And as Mani was promoted as the first of a series of books on Greece, the Times reviewer wrote that "Mr Leigh Fermor will be hard-put to keep up his own level in the sequels"' (A. Cooper Patrick Leigh Fermor. An Adventure (London: 2012), p. 307). This critical approval translated into commercial success, and Mani was the Book Society choice for December 1958 and it went on to win the first Duff Cooper Memorial Prize. Roumeli, the complementary sequel, was published in 1966.