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Poems of the Past & Present.

London: Chapman and Hall, 1910 Stock Code: 131465
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First edition, first impression. An attractive copy, in a variant purple cloth, of Radclyffe Hall's third published work. Poems of the Past & Present was dedicated to Hall's lover, Mabel Batten. The collection memorializes their relationship; the first poem, "A Dedication" gives thanks for Batten's love, and the final poem, "Postscript", acknowledges her role in editing and compiling the poems.

Shortly after the work was published Batten's husband George died, allowing the pair to live together in a de facto marriage until Batten's sudden death six years later. The work is explicitly romantic, the poems of the present celebrating the "couple's mutual devotion" and the poems of the past referring "most specifically to a sequence of Sapphic verses called the 'Fruit of the Nispero'" (Dellamora, p. 26).

This copy has a pleasing provenance having been given as a Christmas gift from Lady Maud "Emerald" Cunard (mother of Nancy) to her friend Violet Manners, Duchess of Rutland, with her inscription in pencil on the first blank, "Xmas 1910 Violet from Emerald C". It has the subsequent Rex Whistler-designed bookplate of Violet's son-in-law, Duff Cooper, to the front pastedown.

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Octavo. Original purple cloth, titles to spine and front cover in gilt within gilt frames, top edge gilt, others untrimmed, pink silk bookmark, partially unopened.


With 3 pp. of publisher's adverts at end.


Pencil notation to rear free endpaper. Spine sunned, front board a little bowed, rubbing to extremities, top edge dust toned, foxing to edges and occasionally to margins, light soiling to first few pages; a very good copy.


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