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JAMES, Edward.

Twenty Sonnets to Mary.

[London]: The James Press, [1931] Stock Code: 130533
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Presentation copy from the author to his sister

First edition, presentation copy, inscribed by the author to his sister on the first blank, "To Silvia, with love and affection, from Edward - May 1931". Edward James (1907-1984) was an aristocratic arts patron and amateur poet. He was a passionate supporter of surrealism and sponsored Salvador Dalí for the whole of 1938. The James Press was primarily a vehicle for self-publication and following its first publication of John Betjeman's first book of poems, Mount Zion, in 1931, the subsequent works were all James's own. Lowe notes that "there is no clue to the identity of 'Mary' in the sonnets but Edward wrote elsewhere that they were written to Mary, Lady Curzon" (Lowe, p. 118). Purser disputes this claim, suggesting that the poems were "written three years earlier to a girl (or boy) who otherwise seems to have left no enduring impression" (Purser p. 37). This beautifully produced work is notably uncommon, especially inscribed.

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Large octavo. Original brown quarter morocco, spine lettered in gilt, brown batik sides, edges untrimmed.


Vignette title page, engraved page headers, manuscript hand coloured colophon, text printed on rectos only.


Slight rubbing and a touch of wear to board edges, a little discolouration to sides, top edge dust toned, faint offsetting to endpapers; a very good copy.


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