Swift Wings. Songs in Sussex.Steyning: The Vine Press, 1921 Stock Code: 139457
First edition, number 197 of 550 copies on antique laid paper, a notably fresh example of Neuburg's second book of pagan poetry published at his Vine Press. This copy was presented as a gift with a charmingly poetic inscription on the front free endpaper by his son, Victor Edward Neuburg (1924-1996).
This selection of Neuburg's poetry follows his first work, Lillygay (1920), and was originally intended to be part of a larger collection called Starcraft, which was never published. Neuburg (1883-1940) was an English poet, publisher, and general man-of-letters, and edited "The Poet's Corner" for the Sunday Referee from 1933 onwards. In this role he awarded prizes for new writing, including to a young Dylan Thomas, whose first book 18 Poems was subsequently sponsored by the publisher of the Sunday Referee. At the Vine Press, which published poetry and prose inspired by theosophy, folklore and the occult, he likewise gained a reputation for the selfless and generous help he gave to young writers. Upon hearing of Neuburg's death in May 1940 Dylan Thomas wrote that "Vicky encouraged me as no one else has done" (Fuller). In his youth Neuburg shared a close and occasionally sexual association with Aleister Crowley, and was present at Crowley's first "Sex Magick" ritual held in the desert near Algiers in 1909. Although the two split ways from 1914 Crowley was complimentary of Neuburg's poetry, writing in The Spirit of Solitude in 1929 that Neuburg "produced some of the finest poetry of which the English language can boast".
Victor Edward Neuburg was a librarian and scholar and has presented this copy of his father's work as a gift: "For Mrs. F., This Book, / At which she may occasionally look, / And indeed, / Might even read, / Is inscribed with affection & friendship / Which shall have no endship. / Crouch End, N.8. 12:IX:'57/ The Author's name, You will probably guess, / Is Neuburg Père, who founded the Vine Press".
There are two known issues of the present edition, with no priority noted: the first with red illustrated boards as here, the second with white boards. A further 40 large paper copies were also issued.
Octavo. Original grey cloth-backed red boards, titles in black to paper label to spine, bucolic illustration designed by Beatrice Linda Stanbrough in black and titles in gilt to front board, fore and bottom edges untrimmed.
Spare paper label tipped-in at rear endpapers. Vignette title page, colophon and errata printed in red and black, and decorative initials.
Spine browned, slight damp marks and a couple of small abrasions to boards, a little rippling and ink mark to rear board, wear to extremities, offsetting to endpapers, small mark to pp. 56-9; else contents notably fresh; a very good copy of this fragile production.
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