Venusberg.London: Duckworth, 1932 Stock Code: 126592
First edition, first impression, presentation copy, inscribed by the author to his father's lover on the front free endpaper, after whom he named the book's female protagonist: "For Lucy Hayes, With the best wishes of the author, Tony Powell Oct. 11 1932. In the hope that she will forgive the borrowing of her name". Hayes was "a great love and lifelong friend" of Anthony Powell's father Philip, whom she met in the early 1920s. Violet Powell, reminiscing about Philip, her father-in-law, noted that "he had not been without his partisans, mostly ladies with whom he had been on flirtatious terms" (A Stone in the Shade, 2002). Anthony Powell "accepted their relationship and was fond of Lucy. She greatly enjoyed his novels". He inscribed several of his books to her. Powell was a reluctant and at times ungracious signer of his own books, even for friends; this is a remarkably intimate inscription. Lucy Hayes (1878-1965) served as a nurse in the First World War. She worked at the Dimitri Palace in St Petersburg, the main Anglo-Russian Hospital, and a photograph album relating to her time there is held by the Imperial War Museum.
Loosely inserted is a typescript of a letter from Harold Nicholson to Powell, dated 8 October 1932, stating that "I have read Venusberg with the utmost enjoyment... Your deftness of composition makes all my fingers feel like thumbs... I envy you your gifts and opportunity..."
Octavo. Original grey cloth, spine lettered in gilt. With dust jacket designed by Misha Black.
Spine rolled, spine ends and a couple of tips lightly rubbed, a little toning to foot of spine, one tip slightly bumped. A very good copy in the slightly soiled and rubbed jacket, spine panel toned, chips and short closed tears to spine ends, text unaffected, a couple of ink splashes to rear panel, a few nicks and creases to extremities.
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