Severn & Somme.London: Sidgwick & Jackson, Ltd, 1917 Stock Code: 144916
First edition, first impression, of the author's first book, scarce in commerce. This copy with the pencil ownership inscription of fellow poet Charles Dalmon to the verso of the half-title and pencil marks to contents. Severn & Somme is one of only two works published in Gurney's lifetime, the second one being War's Embers (1919).
The present collection was inspired by the poet's beloved Gloucestershire and written in large part while he was serving as a private with the 2nd/5th Gloucesters from May 1916. Wounded and gassed in September 1917 during the third battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), "He spent time in various war hospitals in England and, after showing signs of mental instability (including a suicide attempt on 19 June 1918), he was finally discharged in October 1918. Gurney resumed his studies at the Royal College of Music, this time under Ralph Vaughan Williams, but could not concentrate. He returned to Gloucester and, failing to find permanent employment, had to live on a small disability pension and the charity of friends and family" (ODNB). However, Gurney was dogged with mental difficulties which culminated in his being committed to Barnwood House Asylum, Gloucester, and two months later the City of London Mental Hospital, near Dartford, where he died in 1937 at age 47.
Octavo. Original red boards, titles printed in black to paper spine label, boards ruled in blind.
2 pp. publisher's advertisement at end.
Corners a touch bumped, extremities sunned, the binding otherwise sound and square, light foxing to fore edge, else internally clean and fresh; a very good copy.
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