ACTON, Harold.

An Indian Ass.

London: Duckworth, 1925 Stock Code: 146389
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First edition, first impression. Presentation copy, inscribed on the front free endpaper "To Mrs Harmsworth, or 'dear Nine' (as Yarrick called Miss Hannah Morr) inasmuch as the Nine Muses are united in her delicate and charming person, with the affection & esteem of Harold Acton, on her birthday, the 13th of December 1925, may it be a happy one!".

The recipient was Emily Alberta Maffett (1873-1942) who married, in 1897, her cousin Cecil Bisshopp Harmsworth, 1st Baron Harmsworth (1869 -1948). He was the younger brother of the two titans of the Press in England at the time, Lord Northcliffe and Lord Rothermere, and was a Parliament Secretary for Foreign Affairs. One of their children, Cecil Desmond Bernard (1903-1990), would be among Acton's friends, along with Evelyn Waugh, Edith Sitwell, and others, and would be the dedicatee, along with Waugh, of Acton's third book.

This is Acton's second book; "in February 1925 Thomas Balston of Duckworth was apparently pleased enough with Aquarium to publish the twenty-year-old undergraduate's second volume of verse, An Indian Ass, in an edition of 1000 copies. The jazzy effects of Aquarium were here overlaid by a rather lush vocabulary which, while still redolent of Eliot's influence, was perhaps too celebratory to secure truly fashionable status" (ODNB).

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Octavo. Original red cloth, titles to spine and front board in black. With dust jacket.


The binding sharp, pp. 31-2 starting, else internally clean and fresh. A near-fine copy in the very good jacket, small nicks to corners, spine panel a little toned.


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