The Wind Among the Reeds.London: Elkin Mathews, 1899 Stock Code: 145132
First edition, first impression, of Yeats's third volume of poetry. "This remarkable book will be, in the judgement of posterity, the sole rival of A Shropshire Lad for the position of the most significant verse production in England in the 1890s" (Norman Colbeck). The striking cloth design by fellow poet and artist Althea Gyles is generally considered her best work for Yeats (Cevasco).
The Wind Among the Reeds reflects the start of Yeats's love affair and lifelong friendship with Olivia Shakespear and contains some of his most striking and haunting love poetry such as"Aehd Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven", "The Shadowy Horses" and "Michael Robartes Remembers Forgotten Beauty". Other "answering" poems in the collection like "Aedh Wishes his Beloved were Dead" clearly evoke his hopeless passion for Maud Gonne.
This copy is from the library of Australian poet, critic, follower of Annie Besant, and Professor of English at the University of Sydney John Le Gay Brereton (18711933), with his bookplate to the front pastedown, and a gift inscription from his close friend and fellow poet Christopher Brennan (18701932): "J. Le Gay Brereton, 13 July 1899, from C. B." Brennan has also added neat pencil annotations to the margins of "Hanrahan Laments Because of his Wanderings" supplying the gloss that accompanied the original publishing of the poem as "O'Sullivan the Red Upon his Wanderings" in The New Review in August 1897, and to the Notes at p. 65. Either he or Brereton have additionally gently underlined the title of "Aedh Tells of the Rose in his Heart" in pencil.
Octavo. Original blue cloth, design by Althea Gyles stamped in gilt on spine and covers, white endpapers, edges untrimmed. Housed in a custom blue cloth solander box, paper label to spine and front board.
Sydney bookseller's ticket to front pastedown. Gilt faded to spine and a little to covers, minor bumps to spine ends, else cloth sharp, offsetting to endpapers, light foxing to contents; a very good and attractive copy.
G. A. Cevasco, ed., "Desire and Apocalypse: The Wind Among the Reeds" in The 1890s: British Literature, Art, and Culture (1993); Wade 27.
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