Among Shapes and Shadows.Tokyo, The Hokuseido Press, 1939 Stock Code: 137118
NotesFirst edition, first printing, number 177 of 350 issued copies, presentation copy inscribed on the front free endpaper "Mr Laurence Binyon With all good wishes from the Author, October 25, 1939". Loosely inserted are two letters (and washi paper envelope) to Binyon: one an autograph letter from Oshima, dated October 27, 1939; the other a typed letter signed from W. B. Yeats, dated July 5, 1938.
Shotaro Oshima was W. B. Yeats's principal advocate in Japan, author of many publications about him, both in English and Japanese, and founder of the Yeats Society of Japan in 1965. The present items relate to Oshima's visiting a frail Yeats (1865-1939) at his home, when Yeats gave Oshima the enclosed typed letter of introduction to fellow English poet Laurence Binyon (1869-1943). In his letter, the Japanese poet explains to Binyon: "I am taking the liberty of sending you under separate cover a copy of my 'Poems: Among Shapes and Shadows'. I am afraid that they are rather badly written as I have some difficulty in expressing myself in good English. But I hope that you will find something of interest in my book. And I shall be very much obliged if you kindly give me some remark upon my poems, because it is the first and laborious attempt for me to write verse in English, and I am quite uncertain as to the merits of my poetry.
I am Japane sic and a professor of poetry in Waseda University in Tokyo, and I have ever sent to you an essay on 'Blake and Macpherson's Ossian'. About 10 years ago I devoted much of my time to the study of the poetry of W. B. Yeats. And so when I saw the late Mr. W. B. Yeats; he gave me the letter of introduction to you which is enclosed here.
I had to cut my stay in England and in Europe short because of the Sudeten Crisis; and, to my great regret, I lost the opportunity of seeing you in England".
A lovely association copy bringing together a poetical triangle of authors from Ireland, England, and Japan, at the dawn of the Second World War.
Octavo. Original brown cloth, titles to spine in black with two decorative red stars, untrimmed. With the dust jacket.
Foot of spine gently bumped, slight toning to endpapers. A near-fine copy in the very good jacket, spine darkened, a little toned and soiled, minor wear and creasing to corners.
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