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New Year Letter.
  • 106737

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New Year Letter.

Published: London: Faber and Faber, 1941

Stock code: 106737

Price: £450

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This item is on show at 100 Fulham Road (map)

First UK edition, first impression. With the ownership inscription of surrealist poet David Gascoyne, dated May 1941 (the month of publication) to the front free endpaper. Gascoyne was a frequent contributor to Harry Grigson’s New Verse, a literary magazine in which “Auden received almost unqualified approval … and was honoured in November 1937 in a special double number – studded with encomiums from the ‘group’ … However, it would be an oversimplification to describe the poetic house style of New Verse as ‘Audenesque’. It is not really possible to identify any stylistic commonality between Auden and the neo-romantic poetry of Dylan Thomas and George Barker, the surrealism of David Gascoyne and Philip O’Connor, or the witty juvenilia of Gavin Ewart” (Harding, The Criterion: Cultural Politics and Periodical Networks in Inter-war Britain, p. 96). New Year Letter was originally published two months earlier in the US as The Double Man, the present edition differing from the US in that “the ‘Modern sources’ section is omitted from the notes, and the notes themselves have numerous changes, the UK edition often being fuller” (Bloomfield and Mendelson). One of 2,000 copies printed, scarce in the dust jacket.

Octavo. Original grey cloth, spine lettered in red. With the dust jacket. 3 leaves from Horizon magazine III, 18 (June 1941), bearing the first printed appearance of Auden’s poem “At the Grave of Henry James”, bound in at rear. Near-contemporary gift inscription to front free endpaper. Cloth lightly soiled, corners bumped. A very good copy in the spine-sunned dust jacket with a pencilled annotation and small mark to the rear panel.

Bibliography: Bloomfield and Mendelson A24b; C251 for At the Grave of Henry James.

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