The Orators: An English Study.London: Faber and Faber, 1966 Stock Code: 147389
Third edition, first impression, familiarly inscribed by the author using his first name reserved for friends on the title page: "To Bill from Wystan", his printed name struck through. It was first published in 1932; this edition includes a new foreword, where Auden observes that his past self seems "someone talented but near the border of sanity" (p. 7)
The recipient Dr William ("Woods") Shelton Gray, Jr (1926-1993) fostered friendships with major literary figures such as Auden and T. S. Eliot, and on one occasion met Ezra Pound. Auden dedicated the poem "The Aliens" to Gray, toured Europe with him, and in 1971 found him a position as a visiting lecturer in American Literature at the University of Graz in Austria.
Auden took inspiration for this work from his time as a schoolmaster at Larchfield Academy. He "found the school dreary and the boys mostly dim, but made close friendships and used fantasy versions of it as the setting for much of his phantasmagoric long poem" (ODNB) in prose and verse The Orators.
Octavo. Original blue cloth, spine lettered in gilt. With dust jacket.
Spine slightly cocked, light browning to endpapers, else internally bright and clean. A very good copy indeed, in like dust jacket, tiny chip to foot of spine, not price-clipped, slightly creased, overall bright and sharp.
Bloomfield and Mendelson A3c.
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