John Sherman and Dhoya.
First edition, first impression, of Yeats’s early pseudonymous work of folklore (his third published book, and his first published prose-work), tenth in Unwin’s Pseudonym library. This copy is signed by Yeats on the title page and dated November 19 1891, for G. A. Greene (whose ownership inscription appears on the front cover and title page, and who has written out W. B. Yeats’s true name under the printed pseudonym “Ganconagh”). Greene was an associate of Yeats acquainted with him through the Rhymers’ Club, the syndicate of mystics, aesthetes and decadents that met at the Olde Cheshire Cheese pub (also the erstwhile haunt of Dr Johnson and of Dickens) just off Fleet Street between 1890 and 1894 to write and discuss poetry, and to drink. Yeats included 12 of Greene’s poems in the two issues (1892 and 1984) of club’s anthology, the “Book of the Rhymers’ Club”, including Greene’s “Song of the Songsmiths”, a poetic anthem marking the first anniversary of the group. About John Sherman and Dhoya, one of the earliest of Yeats’s published compositions, Yeats would later say that it was “written when I was very young, and knew no better”, though it did earn him £40 when he was in need of the money, and does contain the germ of Yeats’s later preoccupation with mythography. While first edition copies of this title are elusive already, signed and association copies are scarce indeed.
Tall octavo. Original yellow wrappers printed in black. In a marbled, vellum-backed solander case. Small cataloguing entry pasted to the verso of the rear wrapper. Wrappers lightly rubbed and marked, spine cracked and repaired, contents toned. A very good copy.
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