The Seven Lively Arts.New York & London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1924 Stock Code: 128542
First edition, signed limited issue, number 25 of 300 copies signed by the author and bound in Javanese batik; Ira Gershwin's copy, with his ownership inscription on the front free endpaper. A superb Jazz Age association: Ira's younger brother and frequent collaborator, the composer George Gershwin, is mentioned many times throughout the book and his portrait faces page 92.
Seldes, who has been described as "a champion of Gershwin", served as an editor and drama critic of The Dial, wrote and adapted for Broadway, and in 1958 hosted the NBC show The Subject is Jazz (Oja, p. 659). The present highly influential work sought to apply intelligent criticism to popular culture and arts too often dismissed as lowbrow. Seldes discusses popular acts such as Charlie Chaplin, Fanny Price, and Krazy Kat. Seldes says of George Gershwin that "delicacy, even dreaminess, is a quality he alone brings into jazz music" (p. 92).
The book was published in the same year Ira Gershwin first collaborated with his younger brother, George, in the Broadway musical Lady, Be Good, the story by Guy Bolton and Fred Thompson, which starred brother and sister performers Fred and Adele Astaire. The best known number from the show is "Fascinating Rhythm".
Large octavo. Original natural cloth-backed patterned batik paper sides, cream endpapers, fore and bottom edges untrimmed, partially unopened.
Frontispiece, 20 black and white plates, line drawings in the text.
Wear to tips and extremities, gauze visible to the gutter of pp. 92-3, else a clean and bright, near-fine copy.
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