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(EVANS, Walker.) CRANE, Hart.

The Bridge

A Poem.

Paris : 1930 Stock Code: 83569
£5,750.00
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Notes

First edition, first impression, one of 200 copies on Holland Paper from a total limited edition of 284 copies. The Bridge was Crane's only attempt at a long poem, inspired by his view of the Brooklyn Bridge from his apartment in Columbia Heights, and includes three plates from photographs of the bridge by his friend Walker Evans. Harold Bloom praised the poem for "its astonishing transformation of the sublime ode into an American epic, uneven certainly but beyond The Waste Land in aspiration and accomplishment" (Complete Poems of Hart Crane, Liveright, 2000).
This shimmering first appearance was one of several exquisitely produced books put out by the Black Sun Press, founded by the wild and wealthy expatriate couple Harry and Caresse Crosby. Harry Crosby (1898-1929) was heir to one of Boston's wealthiest banking families, but after serving as an ambulance driver during the First World War he met and fell in love with a married lady, Mary Peabody (née Jacob) - they fled to Paris, married, and she changed her name to Caresse. Harry and Caresse embedded themselves in the avant-garde cultural scene, befriending the likes of Dalí, Hemingway and Cartier-Bresson, founded the Black Sun Press which helped to publish the early works of Joyce, Eliot, Pound and Hart Crane, and lived a life of utter dissolution off Harry's inheritance - which, when it ran out, had to be supplemented by telegrams to his banker father such as the infamous, "PLEASE SELL 10,000 WORTH OF STOCK. WE HAVE DECIDED TO LIVE A MAD AND EXTRAVAGANT LIFE" (to which the father, reluctantly but nonetheless amazingly, assented). Following Crosby's tragic death in 1929 (he was found shot dead in the same bed as Josephine, "The Fire Princess", one of his many lovers), the Black Sun Press continued issuing books in Paris and New York under the directorship of Caresse, who survived until 1970.

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Description

Tall quarto. Original white wrapper, titles to spine and front wrapper in red and black. With the original glassine jacket. Housed in the publisher's silver card slipcase. Housed in a silver flat-back cloth box by the Chelsea Bindery, lettered to spine in black.

Condition

A superb copy in the somewhat worn tissue and original silver-covered card slipcase that has had the lower panel and a small portion of the top panel renewed.

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