The Opening of the Eyes.
Edited by Agnes Z. Stapledon. With a preface by E. V. Rieu [together with two autograph letters].London: Methuen & Co. Ltd, 1954 Stock Code: 118812
NotesFirst edition, first impression, published posthumously. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author's wife Agnes Stapledon, "Edward Frick, from Agnes Z. Stapledon, in memory of Olaf. January 1954". Edward Frick was an American architect based in Paris whom the Stapledons had visited in Paris, in August 1950, less than a month before Stapledon's death. Stapledon was at the time in the process of writing The Opening of the Eyes, a "partly autobiographical philosophical testament", which was left incomplete; he died of a heart attack on 6 September 1950 (ODNB).
This copy has two related letters with it. The first from Olaf Stapledon to Frick is dated 3 September 1950, three days before his death, and discusses at length Hubert Benoit's Métaphysique et psychanalyse (1949), a copy of which Frick had given to Stapledon in Paris. Stapledon wrote to thank Frick, writing that it "is by far the most stimulating that I have come across for many months. It will certainly influence me much. And it comes at a time when I needed something of the sort to help me with the final stage of my own, very different book".
The second letter is from Agnes Stapledon, dated 22 November 1950, breaking the news of Olaf's death to Frick. In it she discusses the letter from 3 September; "it was one of the last letters he wrote. Someday, if I may, I would very much like to read that letter". She also tells Frick of her intention to publish Stapledon's unfinished work, "I feel it is the most important thing I still have to do in my life to bring it to the publisher and to his public. It will be a long time I expect because I must search in his notebooks for all that remains".
Octavo. Original green boards, titles to spine gilt.
Spine lightly faded; an excellent copy.
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