top of page
Look Back: the autobiographies of Dodie Smith Signed first editions 1974-1985

Look Back: the autobiographies of Dodie Smith Signed first editions 1974-1985


[Autobiographies]: Look Back with Love; Look Back with Mixed Feelings; Look Back with Astonishment; [and] Look Back with Gratitude. 

London: Heinemann, W.H. Allen and Muller, Blond & White, 1974-1985 


8vo., 4 vols; brown and black cloth, with spines lettered in gilt or silver, and publisher’s names/devices to foot; all complete in the uniform dust jackets (volume I only clipped), with cover photographs by David Thorpe, and designed by Mike Dempsey, Bob Golden and Janet Tanner; all featuring photographs of the author at various stages of her life; pp. [xi], 2-181, [i, ads]; [xi], 2-277, [i]; [xi], 2-273, [i]; [xi], 2-272, [vi]; Vol II with errata slip to p. [x/xi], as required; each volume including numerous black and white photographs; superb copies all, the pages perhaps a touch toned in places, perhaps a tad offset, and with minor rubbing to the jackets, some wear to the outer edge of Vol III; all minor defects and, in all all; a wonderful set. 


First editions, with all four volumes inscribed by the author ‘with love from Dodie’, and each dated in the year of publication. A handwritten note, laid loosely into volume one by a previous owner, states that the recipient, ‘Ethel’ is Ethel Warren, ‘a friend’. Each volume is dedicated, rather sweetly, to the author’s husband, who clearly provided much critical help during the course of her writing. 


Dodie Smith (1896-1990), English Novelist and Playwright, is perhaps best known for her 1948 novel I Capture the Castle, as well as the children’s classic, The Hundred and One Dalmatians. Born in Lancashire, she was raised by her mother and grandparents in Old Trafford, and she credits her grandfather William, an avid theatregoer, as her inspiration to become a playwright. Smith wrote her first play aged just 10 years old, and by 1914 had enrolled at the renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Her fourth play, Call it a Day was received well, and in 1938 she completed Dear Octopus, which starred John Gielgud at the Queen’s Theatre. The show ran for 373 performances, until it was halted by the outbreak of WWII. 


After moving to America with her husband, and feeling nostalgic and homesick, Smith wrote her first novel, I Capture the Castle, which was published in 1948. A coming-of-age story, it tells the tale of an eccentric family who struggle to live in genteel poverty in a decaying castle, and is set in the 1930s. In 1956, The Hundred and One Dalmatians was published, based in part on Smith’s love of the breed (at one point she owned 15 puppies), and her beloved pooch, Pongo. The idea for the novel was conceived when it is reported that a friend commented on the group of them together ‘those dogs would make a lovely fur coat’. 

    Product Page: Stores_Product_Widget
    bottom of page