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SMITH, Stevie.

Harold’s Leap.

Illustrated by the author.

Published: London: Chapman & Hall, 1950

Stock code: 112543

Price: £475

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First edition, first impression, inscribed by the author “To Naomi Replansky, from Stevie Smith” on the front free endpaper, and with errata supplied in Smith’s holograph. Beneath the title of The River God, Smith adds “(of the River Mimram, in Hertfordshire)”, and makes minor revisions to Harold’s Leap, Thought is Superior, Persephone, and Eugenie, all changes which were included in later editions. Smith’s insertion of “in death” after “Despairing” in the poem Do Not! did not appear in later printings, but her substitution of “thoughtfully” for “angrily” in I rode with my darling did make its way into her public performances. Smith noted these changes in her correspondence with American novelist Kathleen Farrell, now held at the University of Texas. The titles of ‘Oh stubborn race of Cadmus’ seed’ and The Ambassador are respectively annotated “The young Antigone” and “[Hermes] ‘…known also, among the Phoenicians, as Casmilus’ (Lemprière)”. Will May, editor of Smith, notes that this last change is found noted in Smith’s own copy. Replansky, an American poet and translator (b. 1918), maintained a lengthy correspondence with Smith and visited her at her home in Palmers Green, London, in 1969, two years before her death; such of their letters as have been published show, notably, that Replansky raised the issue of Smith’s much-discussed attitude to Jews (“When you talk about the practical common sense of Jews I too (Jewish) wince slightly”) (Hult, ed., Readings from the Disciplines, p. 164).

Octavo. Original red cloth, titles to spine in black. With the supplied dust jacket. Line drawings in red throughout the text. Spine rolled and faded, extremities and joints rubbed with a few small portions of wear, isolated very faint markings to cloth, light toning, still a very good copy in the bright dust jacket with a toned spine.

Bibliography: See May, ed. The Collected Poems and Drawings of Stevie Smith (London: Faber & Faber, 2015) for a full explication of Smith's revisions to Harold's Leap.

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