DUNNING, Ralph Cheever.

Rococo. A Poem.

With three drawings by Howard Simon.

Paris: Edward W. Titus, 1926 Stock Code: 149213
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First edition, first printing, number 72 of 500 copies only signed by the author on the limitation page and the artist under the first illustration.

Ralph Cheever Dunning, dubbed "the living Buddha of Montparnasse" by fellow American expatriate Ford Maddox Ford, was a ghostly presence in critical, literary Paris in the 1920s. Ezra Pound joined others in championing his work, ensuring that the reluctant poet's work was published in major journals of the time, leading tohim winning the Helen Haire Nevinson Prize from Poetry magazine in 1925. More interested in writing poetry than in seeing it published, the reclusive opium addict appeared equally unmoved by critics and admirers. Dunning rarely ate and rarely spoke and when he did venture out, would be found in the noisiest cafés on the Left Bank, clutching a glass of warm milk and a book. Dunning's poetry reflected his own profound death wish, emphasising the fleetingness of life and death's permanency. That wish was fulfilled, aged 52, when weakened by tuberculosis, he simply stopped eating altogether.

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Tall octavo. Original cream paper-backed grey boards, spine lettered in brown, titles printed in black to blue paper label on front board, untrimmed.


3 mounted monochrome illustrations after Howard Simon.


Sunned, spine darkened, a hint of wear to extremities, the binding otherwise sound, free endpapers toned, else internally crisp; a very good copy.


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